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Thursday, April 27, 2017

Kameron Misner establishing himself as a key piece in Missouri outfield

The freshman from Poplar Bluff, Missouri, is relishing the opportunity to play for his home-state school.

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Freshman Kameron Misner swings and misses during the home game facing Kentucky on April 14, 2017.

Emil Lippe /Senior Staff Photographer

April 19, 2017

March 5 was a big day for Missouri baseball. The team had just completed a weekend home sweep of their home-opening series against the UIC Flames in a wild, 11-10 contest that saw a freshman drill a walk-off homer to finish off a Tiger victory.

It was the culmination of a period of optimism. After a mediocre 26-32 season the year before, the Tigers now had a 10-1 start and were in the middle of a 10-game win streak.

Freshman Kameron Misner is the embodiment of that optimism. He’s also the player who drilled that 415-foot blast that won the game.

“That was my first career walk-off anything,” Misner said. “I had never hit a walk-off before. It’s just one of those feelings you can’t really explain. I don’t really ever know on home runs, I always sprint out of the box, but that one felt good.”

After the game, junior outfielder Trey Harris described Misner as “country strong.” It’s an apt description. An imposing figure, the Poplar Bluff, Missouri-native stands at 6-foot-4 and weighs in at 219 pounds.

He also comes off as a player who is easy for teammates to root for.

“To see Kam hit that home run was way more exciting than mine,” Harris said after the March 5 contest. “The way we played this weekend was so fun, even better when it’s with people that you care about.”

Before Misner arrived on campus, he was a highly touted high school prospect in Missouri. Ranked as the third overall prospect in the state, Misner racked up numerous accolades during his time at Poplar Bluff High School.

He was acknowledged twice in the 2016 Rawlings-Perfect Game awards, as he was named to the second-team All-Central Region squad and an honorable mention on the All-American team.

But the biggest honor, by far, came in June 2016. Misner was selected in the 33rd round of the MLB draft by the Kansas City Royals. Ultimately, he decided not to sign with the 2015 world champions and enrolled at Mizzou.

“Playing for your home-state school, it’s kind of a feeling you can’t describe,” Misner said. “It’s just an awesome opportunity.”

So far, Misner has lived up to the MLB potential that Kansas City saw in him last June. In his freshman season, through 34 games, he’s batting at .284 clip with four home runs and 24 RBIs, as of Tuesday night.

Most notably, he’s been a headache for opposing defenses on the base paths, racking up an impressive 14 steals. This leads Missouri and brings Misner to second overall in the Southeastern Conference.

Whether it’s hitting walk-off home runs, swiping bases or being a balanced presence in the clubhouse, Missouri baseball fans can be sure that they have a valuable player in Misner moving forward.

Edited by Eli Lederman | elederman@themaneater.com

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