If there is anything that Pilot Grove senior Cole Meisenheimer learned from his days competing in baseball and basketball for the Tigers, he knows now that he wants to further his education in secondary education at the University of Missouri in Columbia.
Although Meisenheimer will take a short detour to State Fair Community College in Sedalia to hopefully play baseball, he said his hopes are to some day coach both sports at the high school level.
Of course Meisenheimer was no slouch in either sport. A four-year starter in basketball and 3 1/2 years in baseball, Meisenheimer excelled on the field while hitting .414 with an on-base percentage of .564 and nine walks. He also struck out just once during the fall season. Meanwhile, as a pitcher, Meisenheimer finished 2-2 with 28 strikeouts and only seven walks in 23 1/3 innings. Only nine runs came across the plate against Meisenheimer.
In basketball, Meisenheimer averaged 12.5 ppg along with 8.0 rpg, 4.7 apg and 1.7 spg. He also shot 40 percent from the field, 26.7 percent from the three-point arc and 67.4 percent from the foul line this past season.
Meisenheimer earned all-conference and all-district two years running and was a three time selection to the KMZU Dream Team for basketball.
As for baseball, the senior standout was a four time all-conference selection-co-MVP this past fall-and a three time all-district pick.
Meisenheimer said if he had to pick one sport to be his favorite, it would probably be baseball.
“Baseball is fun,” Meisenheimer said. “Baseball has always been the one that I like more. I grew up playing it and dad pushed it. I guess there was just so much more to the mental aspect of the game. You don’t have to be a physical specimen to be a star at it.”
Although the Tigers never played a game in the spring due to COVID-19, Meisenheimer said it was disappointing not getting to play his final year in baseball. He said spring baseball districts is really the biggest part of his school year so not being able to do that for the last year and trying to win, especially when they were in the same district with St. Elizabeth.
Meisenheimer still has his junior year to remember. He said the game last year against Cairo was probably his best game.
“If we won, we were going to be conference champions,” Meisenheimer said. “Me and the Cairo kid both went eight innings with 100 pitches and the score was still 0-0, and then we lost in the ninth inning.”
As for a career highlight, Meisenheimer said it was probably his freshman season while playing shortstop. He said catching the last out to win the first district title in like 30 years was awesome. “Winning the conference championship this past fall was another highlight,” Meisenheimer said. “It was just neat because it was the first time that we had won a conference title in the CAC.”
Meisenheimer said he will miss being around everybody in baseball, especially in Pilot Grove because you got to hang out with your teammates all day and then have a two hour practice with them.
“Honestly, I thought I had a pretty successful career,” Meisenheimer said in baseball. A lot of people compliment my game but they also liked the way I played. The umpires also came up to me and said they enjoyed watching me play the last four years. Other coaches ask me if I have graduated yet.”
As for basketball, Meisenheimer said it was a little bit tougher since they didn’t win a lot of games. However, he said the team never quit.
“We knew we were going to have to go out and fight every night,” Meisenheimer said. “I also liked the bond that I created with coach (Derek) Skaggs and the team as a whole even though I know it was tough a lot of times.”
As for his best game, Meisenheimer said it was against Warsaw his sophomore year in the W-K Shootout in Sedalia. He said he had something like 26 points with four three-pointers and 11 rebounds.
“The first half I didn’t really miss, but we still ended up losing that game,” Meisenheimer said. “I had 26 but the other kid on the other team had 30.”
Meisenheimer said he will also never forget playing at Community R-6 on their Homecoming. He said they had signs everywhere along the hallways and then we walk into the gym and it was like standing room only.
“Gavin Shepherd had a big game and I shot a free throw to tie the game with 4 seconds left and then I came down and hit a three, so we ended up winning by one point,” Meisenheimer said. “That was probably my career highlight. I just remember the big crowd was pretty hostile and then Gavin ended up taking a sign as we left.”
While scoring over 1,000 points in his career, Meisenheimer said the thing that he will miss the most about basketball was being around coach Skaggs every day.
“I would go talk to him and then I would help out in practice with the sophomore class this year,” Meisenheimer said. “I’m trying to be an on the floor coach with them (sophomores) because I can see them growing as you are talking to them through some stuff. Being around all that kind of motivated my decision to go into secondary education so I can be a coach.”
Meisenheimer said although the team didn’t have a lot of success, he still thought he had a good career. He said he probably wasn’t as dominant as he could have been but was more into the team being successful.
“I pride myself on being a team player and being a good sport to other teams,” Meisenheimer said.
As far as what he will miss the most about his career at Pilot Grove, Meisenheimer said obviously competing in sports but also being around the teachers every day.
“I have been around most of them for like 10 years,” Meisenheimer said. “Also, I am going to miss coach Skaggs because we have been really close and when he first came here and it was my seventh and eighth grade year that I was the team manager, so I was still with him every day at practice and going to games. Just king of hanging out not only with my friends at school but being around the staff the whole time, too.”
Meisenheimer said he is also glad the school went ahead with graduation on June 12. He said it’s definitely not the same as when they are finishing out the rest of the school year, but it’s still pretty cool that at least they get to have graduation on the baseball field.
While reflecting on the last four year as a Tiger, Meisenheimer said his most memorable moment was probably the district championship game as a freshman against Jamestown.
He said you could feel the whole community was wanting to win the title. “After the game the dads were still sitting there shaking because they were on that 1989 team, which was the last team to win it,” Meisenheimer said. “There was like 1,000 people or something in the crowd that game. You could just see how much it really meant not just to the team but to the community as well.”