Taconic Hills High School senior Donavan Mier is one tryout away from competing on the Team USA 17U baseball squad.
Next week he heads to Carey, North Carolina for the third, and final, leg of a three-part tryout.
Earlier this year, the thought of competing on an international level wasn’t even on Mier’s radar.
Mier and his father, Paul, went on the NTIS website and saw signups for tryouts for Team USA and decided to give it a shot.
The first was in Fishkill in July. After being selected to advance, the second tryout was on Long Island and included athletes from New York, New Jersey and Delaware.
Eight players were selected to move on from the second tryout. They will join other athletes from around the country in North Carolina next week. The final tryout will decide who makes the team to represent the country on the diamond.
The North Carolina trip will last five days and will include skills training, games and group workouts at the USA Baseball National Training Center.
Mier had a solid high school season this year, being named a Patroon Conference All-Star.
During the summer, he was selected to play in the Hudson River Collegiate Baseball League, which features mainly college players. At 16 years old, Mier was the youngest player in the league.
He fared well against older, more experienced players, picking up 14 hits, including two doubles and a triple with 10 runs scored and three RBI.
“[Playing in the HRCBL] helped a lot. It was fun, I really liked it,” Mier said. “Next year there will be more teams, so it’ll be even better.”
Mier credits league president Ed DuPont with helping him out the most over the summer.
“I learned the most from Ed. He came up to me after some games and helped me out, he fixed my swing,” Mier said.
DuPont had his eye on Mier before the season started and was happy to have the Titan in the league.
“Donavan was a pleasure to have in the HRCBL this summer. He was one of the youngest players in the league and gave maximum effort all the time,” DuPont said. “The thing I liked most about Donavan was his attitude. He asks questions on how to improve and accepts coaching well. All of the players and coaches in the Hudson River Collegiate Baseball League are pulling for him to make Team USA.
“We are all looking forward to seeing him play next summer,” he added. “I think he has a bright future a head of him at the next level. We are looking forward to seeing where he will be attending college after his senior year at Taconic Hills.”
A number of college scouts were at the second tryout for Team USA and more are expected to be in attendance next week.
Mier, a pitcher/outfielder, has spent countless hours working on his craft during the offseason.
Last summer he played for the Devil Cats travel team and over the past five years he has been traveling to Frozen Ropes in Albany to work in the cages.
“You really need to play three seasons of baseball and stay sharp over the winter if you want to have a shot at playing for a big school,” Paul Mier said. “You have to use that down time to train. Donavan has put in a lot of work in the cages and it’s paying off.”
While Mier is focused on baseball and wants to play at the Division I level in college, he also plays football for Taconic Hills, where he is a runningback and linebacker. Over the winter, Mier wrestled for the Titans, but is unsure if he’ll compete on the mats again this season.
One thing is for sure, though. We’ll be hearing a lot more about Donavan Mier on the baseball field in the years to come.