'Crafty lefthander' comes through for Calvin
By Lynn Bolt Rosendale
As far back as Dan Mesyar can remember, he knows he had a glove on his hand.
"I had three older brothers, so I started real young," he said. "In the summertime that's all we did--play baseball every day."
Apparently all that practice paid off for the Calvin senior, who finished the season among the top five hitters in the conference. He also finished second in the conference in RBIs. And that was just offensively. Defensively, he held the top pitching slot for the Knights during the season and played outfield when he wasn't on the mound.
"One of the reasons I came to Calvin was because I knew I could contribute here," he said. "I felt that I would have the opportunity to show what I could do."
As a freshman, Mesyar played only the outfield. "I know that coaches were thinking, 'He only throws in the low to mid 70s (miles per hour). He's going to get hit,'" he said. "Most college pitchers throw at least 80."
But Mesyar, known as "the crafty lefthander," got his chance and proved everyone wrong.
"Throwing hard is way overrated," he said. "I've learned so much of it is placing your pitch. If you mix up your pitches and throw every pitch for a strike, you'll do well."
That's exactly what this crafty lefthander did. "I throw a curveball, off-speed, knuckleball and change-up," he said. "And I throw just hard enough to keep batters honest."
In addition, Mesyar was able to save his arm for outfield duty and batting.
"Most pitchers at the college level don't hit at all," he said. "I'm fortunate that I've had no arm problems."
At Ludington High School, Mesyar set the school record for most career wins with 38. He was also named All-League for three years as a pitcher.
He hopes to return to this area of Michigan to teach and coach. He will be back at Calvin for one more year this fall to complete his degree. "Calvin was definitely the right choice for me," he said. "I had thought that I wanted to go bigger, but the more I heard about Calvin and the more I read about it academically, the more I wanted to come here. Actually the size turned out about right because you can get the individual attention from the professors here."
"I wouldn't turn back for anything now," he added. "It is so highly regarded to have a degree from here. Next May when I get my diploma it will be a very special day for me."