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Bemidji High baseball legend killed in crash

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sports Bemidji,Minnesota 56619
Bemidji Pioneer
Bemidji High baseball legend killed in crash
Bemidji Minnesota P.O. Box 455 56619

Charlie Meyers, one of Bemidji High School's all-time baseball greats, died Oct. 22 in Sterling, Va. in a motorcycle accident.

He was a working on a construction project in Washington, D.C., at the time of his death. His daughter, Melissa, is a Sterling resident.


Meyers was considered a budding baseball star from his earliest days in the game.

He moved in second grade to Solway, where his parent owned Eva's Diner and bar. He was one of eight children including five brothers.

He attracted notice while playing summer ball for Mel Dalby for Solway in Little League and the Northern Lakes League. He was a three-year starter at Bemidji High under Chuck Grillo and a shortstop-pitcher on the 1973 state championship team, Bemidji's only state title in its 18 trips to state.

A year earlier, Bemidji had finished fourth with Meyers as a regular.

The title team included John Buckanaga, Jim Conway, Andy Kannenberg, Don Wackwitz and Bob Johnson, among others.

He continued his career at Bemidji State until enlisting in the Army.

After his discharge he attended junior college at Eveleth and Thief River Falls before entering the construction business.

He spent most of his adult life in Grand Rapids and was employed by a Virginia firm at the time of his accident.

In high school and college he was considered a solid professional prospect but never pursued that career after entering the service.

Teammates Buckanaga and Kannenberg both went on to Division I baseball programs at Minnesota and Princeton.

Charlie's brother, Mike, also played for Bemidji High.

Football required

The Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference last week voted to retain football as a required sport for league membership.

It came in the wake of St. Cloud State's request to retain its league affiliation if it drops the sport, in line to be cut to meet a $500,000 athletic department deficit.

The announcement came after a task force study and survey of league members.

The league did tweak its required sports, however, with football, basketball and one spring sport required for men, and volleyball, soccer, basketball and one spring sport required for women.

Previously the men's spring sport had to be baseball or track. Tennis or track had been a women's required sport. Now the men could have golf or tennis and the women softball or golf.

Soccer champs

East Grand Forks scored five goals in the second half to snap a scoreless tie and beat Detroit Lakes 5-1 in the 8A girls soccer title game.

It lifted the Wave to 19-1-1. They scored 21 seconds into the second half and upped the lead to 3-0 midway through the period.

DL got one back before the champs closed out the victory with the final two goals.

They are coached by one-time BSU star and BHS assistant Jessica (Bina) Krog.

East Side's stay at the state was a short one, however, bowing 1-0 in its opener to Blake.

The 8-2A winner, Elk River also lost its opener, falling 3-2 in overtime to Stillwater,

Elk River scored twice in the first half to spill Moorhead 2-0 in the 8-AA boys' championship. The Elks shaded SMA 4-3 in the girls' title game.

Proctor beat Grand Rapids 2-1 in the 7A boys' final.

True team swim

Northern teams fared poorly at the Class A True Team state swim meet at Minnesota.

Monticello won the title with 2,153 points to 2,064 for Hutchinson.

Park Rapids was ninth with 1,182.5 and Hibbing 11th with 1,082. Maple Lake won the Class AA title by 69 points over Buffalo.

Baseball fete

The Bemidji Youth League will hold a baseball fund raiser Nov. 20 at the First City Ballroom (former Hungry Bear cafeteria) off Middle School Drive.

The dinner-dance will run from 5-12 p.m.

Tickets are $30 for singles and $55 for couples. All proceeds will go to the BYL to aid in support of its multi-league summer program.

Reservations are requested by Nov. 8 and should be mailed to Bemidji Youth Baseball, Box 1533, Bemidji 56619.

Opening banquet

The first of the seven Bemidji High fall athletic honor banquets will be held Monday night, also at the First City Ballroom.

It will honor the girls varsity and JV soccer units that competed this fall.

The varsity ended 8-11 beating Hillcrest Academy 8-2 in its playoff opener before falling to Detroit Lakes 2-1 in its second start.

Sponsors of the remaining six banquets are asked to coordinate their dates through the activities office to prevent any two from being held the same night.

Hall of Famer

Veteran Verndale football coach Mike Mahlen has been inducted into the Mayville State College Athletic Hall of Fame.

Mahlen and Brainerd's Ron Stolski are tied for the most career wins at 327 with Mahlen spending his entire career at Verndale where he has compiled a 327-102-3 record winning 14 section titles and two state crowns, bowing in the final on three other occasions.

He retired from teaching in 2004 but remains the school's athletic director and football coach.

Pioneer staff reports