Miles Meadows has no business starting in center field at Solano Community College. The 2022 Rodriguez High School graduate had not played baseball in seven years until he joined the Falcons. His teammates paid their dues for four years in high school for an opportunity to play at a junior college. Meadows has some nerve to think he belonged even though he had not swung a bat since he was 12 years old.
Meadows does belong, however. The freshman is batting .328 with three home runs, 22 RBI and a team-high 17 steals. There have been times when Meadows could not hide his inexperience. He has committed seven errors, four more than any other outfielder, and his baserunning needs a bit of work. Against Los Medanos on April 11, Meadows tagged at second base on a blooper that Mustangs second baseman Darrell Mays dropped just a few steps into the outfield. Even if Mays had caught the ball, there was no way Meadows could have made it to third.
At least Meadows made amends by stealing third and scoring on a single by Ryan Mitchell. That did not prevent third-base coach Brian Guinn from pulling Meadows aside to discuss the mistake and then jokingly call him a “freakin’ rookie.”
Head coach Scott Stover has been a bit more forgiving because he takes into consideration all that Meadows has done for the Falcons this season. The Falcons are 8-10 in the Bay Valley Conference and 14-21 overall with three games remaining. Stover would rather not think of how the Falcons would have fared without Meadows.
“We have guys who work hard and they can’t do what Miles does,” said Stover, who has to be counting his baseball blessings . “He’s a leader, he’s so positive and he’s our biggest cheerleader. It’s always been a team thing for him. He’s not selfish and he gets us going.”
There is much more to Meadows than his talent and spirit. Stover missed the April 11 game at Los Medanos when he was hospitalized with an illness. Only one player contacted Stover after the game to check on the coach’s condition. Do you want to guess who it was?
The call came from a young man who had his heart set on playing football as he did at Rodriguez until realizing he could not afford to commute to junior colleges in Sacramento and the Bay Area. And there were a number of junior colleges that were interested in Meadows’ services after he was the starting quarterback for two years at Rodriguez.
Stover is already looking forward to have Meadows return in 2024 and believes Meadows will have every opportunity to play baseball beyond Solano. “I’ve never talked to him about playing football,” Stover quipped, “because I don’t want to put it in his head.”
Meadows will not be going anywhere anytime soon. Playing at Solano has allowed his grandfather, Allan Brown, to attend games. Brown had a hand in raising his grandson, Meadows said, and continues to play a prominent role in Meadows’ life.
“I was not always the best kid. When I got in trouble, he always set me straight,” Meadows said. “I never want to disappoint him.” There is little chance of that ever happening because Meadows is driven to make the most of every opportunity to come his way.
His teammates would welcome Meadows even if he was not a starter and at the top of the Falcons’ batting order. They have come to count on the freshman to provide leadership and be the spark that ignites the team. “Some guys just have it,” said second baseman Victor Vega, who is the team captain. “The guys want to be around him.”
It took more than talent for Meadows to earn the respect of teammates who could have been envious of his emergence. They could have turn a deaf ear whenever Meadows stepped forward to address the team. They could have teased him after overhearing Meadows’ phone conversation with his girlfriend during which she called him “Pookie.”
To be honest, they do tease him. Meadows does not mind the ribbings because they are underlined with respect. “They see the work I put in. They respect the way I carry myself,” Meadows said. “When I say something, they know it’s coming from a good place.”
Meadows is in a good place. “I love these guys,” he said. “This is a perfect fit.”