A little more than a year ago, Avery Mellman was an up-and-coming sophomore in Mason City boys athletics.
In the winter, Mellman worked his way into the starting lineup for the Mohawk basketball team and finished the season with an average of better than 7.5 points per game.
Mellman was a regular on the baseball diamond as well with a .367 batting average over the first eight games of the season.
Then, the unthinkable happened.
Mellman suffered a devastating leg injury that not only cost him the remainder of his sophomore baseball season, it essentially took away his entire junior year from an athletic standpoint.
For Mason City baseball coach Troy Rood, there have already been a number of special moments in the 2018-19 baseball season, including a 9-4 start and a recent sweep of fourth-rated (4A) Waukee.
The best, though, may be that Mellman has returned to the Mohawk lineup, and while still not at 100 percent, the junior is contributing to that success in big ways.
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“Avery is a classic five-tool player,” Rood said. “I am proud of how he has handled his adversity. It tells a lot about his drive and passion.”
By Mellman’s standards, his start to the season may have been a little slow, but Wednesday’s performance may be a sign that he is getting into the swing of things.
In the sweep of the Warriors, Mellman went 3-for-7 with a double and home run, and he plated the winning run in the bottom of the seventh in the nightcap.
“I just tried to have a nice, healthy mental approach,” Mellman said of his time off. “I am fully committed to baseball. I still have time to get fully back into it.”
Just as importantly, Mellman is second in stolen bases for the run-happy Mohawks and showed some excellent mobility in the field at his shortstop position.
With the performance, Mellman saw his season batting average rise to .308, a figure that he hopes will continue to climb, along with the number of Mason City wins.
With time and the conditioning that comes from returning to competition, Mellman’s drive and passion that Rood spoke about will likely get him to where he wants to be.