Former Husker Jake Meyers eyes World Series championship with Houston Astros

Jake Meyers had a great view of one of the most pivotal at-bats of the major league playoffs.

With two outs in the bottom of the ninth inning in Game 1 of the ALDS, Meyers was Houston’s runner at second base when Yordan Alvarez smacked a three-run homer to give the Astros an 8-7 walk-off win over Seattle.

That’s the closest Houston has come to losing in the playoffs this October as the Astros are in the World Series for the fourth time in six years.

“He’s probably the most competitive kid I’ve ever coached,” said Bob Greco, Meyers’ coach at Omaha Westside. “Hard worker, great teammate. I mean everything you could ask for as a coach.”

Before going on to star with the Huskers, Meyers was also a pitcher for the Warriors. He was 9-0 with a 0.97 ERA his senior year in 2014 while hitting .440 as Westside won back-to-back Class A titles.

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The third-team All-American was drafted in the 13th round by the Astros in 2017, and made his MLB debut last summer. Though he was no longer pitching, the outfielder made an immediate impact.

He hit .260 with six homers and 28 RBIs in 49 games. But in the ALDS last October, Meyers injured his left shoulder while attempting to reach a home run ball over the outfield wall. He missed the rest of last year’s playoffs and eventually underwent surgery for a torn labrum.

That injury kept Meyers from the majors until late June.

“Right now I’m just trying to do the best I can to get back to 100%,” Meyers said in April as he was rehabbing. “But really my expectation is to get myself to the best place I can to help the Astros win. Our goal is to get to the playoffs and win there.”

Houston has done just that.

The Astros were the best team in the American League at 106-56 in the regular season. Meyers hit .227 with one homer and 15 RBIs in 52 games, often inserted as a defensive replacement. He was briefly sent back to Triple-A to regain with his swing then had more success when he returned late in the regular season.

“That’s tough,” Greco said of returning from shoulder surgery. “It affects you all around, it doesn’t just affect your throwing.”

Meyers was on Houston’s roster in the ALDS, making the start the day after Alvarez’s dramatic homer, but Meyers was left off the ALCS roster against the Yankees.

Game 1 of the World Series is Friday, and Meyers still hopes to win a ring when the Astros face Philadelphia, which has Omaha Roncalli graduate Alec Bohm in its lineup.

“It’s so exciting, it’s hard to believe,” Greco said of having two Omahans in the World Series. “All of our youth gets to go to the College World Series and I think that kind of helps us because they get to see the highest level of college baseball. Now to see two of them in the World Series is unbelievable.”

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