News From Terre Haute, Indiana

July 20, 2011

King of Pain: Rex’s Meggs leading league in hit-by-pitch

Craig Pearson
The Tribune-Star

TERRE HAUTE — When a ballplayer has been struck by more pitches than his strikeout total, he clearly knows how to handle himself at the plate.

Joe Meggs of the Terre Haute Rex leads the Prospect League in getting hit-by-pitches, reaching base 13 times via the bruise while striking out just nine times. 

Despite a recent slump, Meggs was hitting .317 prior to Tuesday’s game. His .420 on-base-percentage is among the best in the league. 

“He’s right on the plate and he just competes. That’s a toughness. I’m just impressed by how he comes to the ballpark everyday prepared to play,” manager Brian Dorsett said. “He expects a lot out of himself. He expects to have success.”

He and Koby Kraemer, former teammates at Indiana State, have been mainstays in the No. 3 and No. 4 spots in manager Brian Dorsett’s lineup. Meggs batted cleanup in Kraemer’s absence Tuesday night, going 0 for 3 with a sacrifice bunt.

Meggs was a .326 batter as a freshman at ISU, and he hit .317 during his recent sophomore season, his first on the field at the University of Washington after transferring when his father Lindsay took the head coaching job in Seattle. 

The Terre Haute North graduate also has 10 stolen bases despite lacking elite speed.

“I told him before the season he was going to get double-digit steals. He gets good jumps, he knows when to run,” Dorsett said.

West Vigo coach Steve DeGroote once compared Meggs’ approach to Pete Rose, said Dorsett, who explained that assessment.

“He just looks to pound the strikezone with his bat. He’s just right on the plate and his bat just takes that one path right threw the strike zone, does a lot of damage,” Dorsett said.

Meggs earned All-Pac 10 honorable mention honors after leading the Huskies at the plate. Coach Lindsay Meggs’ team went 17-37.

“As a team, it was kind of a long year. We’re pretty young and had some injuries and I think it was a valuable experience. I think it will be valuable for us, and it should help us in the long run,” Joe Meggs said. “The team always comes first. … I did OK for myself.”

Meggs missed 10 games of action at the start of the season due to a broken bone in his hand.

The injury was the result of overuse. In other words, his batting average doesn’t stay above .300 without work ethic and toughness, traits that might make him a successful coach some day.

Meggs just hopes that day comes much later.

“I think it would be hard to say no [to coaching]. You always want to play as long as you can,” Meggs said.

• Prettyman added to coaching staff — Ronnie Prettyman, the son of Indiana State Director of Athletics Ron Prettyman, has joined the Rex coaching staff.

Prettyman was a .263 hitter during five minor league seasons, reaching the Double-A level in 2009 before calling it a career.

After two years away from the game, Prettyman was ready to return.

“I’ve been out of baseball now for about a year and a half. I’m just real excited to get back into it. I had some good opportunities here work-wise. I’m thankful to the Rex for giving me the opportunity to get back into it,” Prettyman said.

Prettyman said he played in the Jayhawk League in Kansas. He had an opportunity to play in the Cape Cod League after getting drafted, but opted to sign to play in the minors.

“It’s a lot of fun for these guys coming from all over the nation to get out in front of a crowd and enjoy playing in front of a good atmosphere,” Prettyman said.

Prettyman is talking with Indiana State coach Rick Heller about joining his coaching staff.

• Fisk throws six no-hit innings — Rex pitcher Conor Fisk, a hard-throwing right-hander, threw six no-hit innings to earn the win Sunday at Lorain County.

He had thrown 105 pitches so Dorsett opted to take him out.

“Out of respect for his college coach, we kind of limit his pitches because he’s pitched a lot,” Dorsett said. “I told him ‘had your coach not said anything, I would have left you in there.’”

Fisk, who was drafted by the Brewers out of high school and opted to continue to work on his game in college, has impressed Dorsett.

“He’s in great shape. He takes really good care of himself, runs all the time. I think he probably could have went the distance. It’s good to find that out if he could,” Dorsett said. “I know he’s made a lot of strides in the past year.”