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James Meeker Re-Signs for 2021 with Wild Things

October 27, 2020 - Frontier League (FL) - Washington Wild Things News Release

WASHINGTON, Pa. - The 2021 Wild Things' roster has grown by one today as the team announced the return of right-handed pitcher James Meeker, who has been with the organization since 2018. A Wexford, Pennsylvania, native, Meeker pitched under the Wild Things' umbrella with the Steel City Slammin' Sammies in the 2020 summer pod.

Meeker logged 7.2 innings of work this past summer over eight appearances. He allowed just four hits and walked three, while fanning 12. He was not scored upon.

That work came on the heels of a successful 2019 individually in his first full season of pro ball, as Meeker sported a 3.17 ERA in 40 games out of the bullpen for Washington that season. He accumulated 54 innings, walked 14 and struck out 57 while allowing only 44 hits. Of the 40 appearances, 29 were scoreless for the former Delaware Blue Hen.

In 2018, Meeker logged 19 appearances and struck out 26 over 29.2 innings with a 3.94 ERA. He fanned five of the six batters he faced in his fourth professional outing in two perfect innings of work before setting a career high with six punchouts in 3.1 innings at Joliet August 9. He also worked three scoreless innings in game three of the FLCS that season.

"Meeker's annual development is one of the most impressive I have been around. We hold great value in those 'bridge relievers' and he has embraced the role of pitching in big spots," said president and general manager Tony Buccilli. "He's a very easy individual to root for, he works extremely hard and loves playing in his home city. The Meeker we saw this past year was dominant and he should be in position to do some special things in 2021."

Meeker said he decided to resign for a few reasons.

"First off I feel like I have a lot more in the tank. I feel like I am still discovering new things and getting better so I wanted to see what I could do with one more year," said Meeker. "Second, last season was so crazy with everything going on and then being shut down abruptly. I didn't want that to be my last memory of playing baseball."

It's an opportunity for the Pittsburgh native to continue playing at home after he spent time at Akron before heading to Delaware in college when Akron disbanded the baseball program. It's also a chance to continue playing for an organization he likes.

"I really enjoy playing so close to home. My friends and family are able to come to games which is awesome," said Meeker. "Also, Tony, Banger and the whole organization provide a relaxing atmosphere that makes playing here a ton of fun."

In college at Akron, Meeker was mainly a position player, but when he got to the Blue Hens he did a bit of both. In two seasons on the mound, he was 10-4 with a 3.68 ERA in 42 games (three starts) with eight saves to go along with his positive record. In 95.1 innings, he fanned 75 and walked only 28.

The college run came on the heels of a really good career in high school at North Allegheny High School. For the 2013 WPIAL Quad A champion Tigers, Meeker was an all-section performer and a four-year letterwinner. He was the first freshman to ever pitch in a varsity game for the program and tossed the only perfect game in school history as a senior in 2013.

Most Wild Things fans know the right hander on the mound by now, but for those that may not, Meeker described himself as a guy that just tries to go out, do his job and have a good time.

"I also really like pitching in high-leverage situations. That is the most fun thing to me," said Meeker.

In terms of his goals and expectations for 2021, he said he has some "pretty lofty" personal goals, but he's got one main goal in mind.

"My main goal though is to get back to the league championship and win it. My first year was such an amazing experience winning the division and getting to the championship," said Meeker. "I really want to do that again but win it all this time."

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