Why batting in the No. 3 spot has Gavin Melohn thriving for the Nevada baseball team

Joe Randleman
Ames Tribune

Gavin Melohn has found his spot in the batting order for the Nevada baseball team.

Batting in the No. 3 spot of the order, Melohn was 3-for-3 with two triples, a walk, steal, run and RBI for the Nevada baseball team during an 11-3 loss to Humboldt Thursday at the Nevada Cubs Baseball Field in Nevada.

“If we’ve got guys on base, in my head I’m thinking let’s get Gavin to the plate,” Nevada head coach Steve Glenn said. “He’s exciting to watch. Once he hits the ball you don’t know where he’s going to end up.” 

Melohn began the season hitting third in the order. But he was moved to the top of the order when a teammate hit a slump.

Then Melohn started struggling a bit at the plate. So he went to Glenn and made a request.

Gavin Melohn is hitting .435 with 14 extra-base hits, 29 runs and 18 RBIs for the Nevada baseball team. Melohn will play at Central next year.

“He said let's put Karter Beving to No. 1 and he’ll hit third," Glenn said. "He made the change and Gavin has really excelled in that No. 3 spot.” 

The Humboldt game showed how dangerous Melohn can be with a couple of hitters in front of him.

“I feel like I’ve hit better there and it shows,” Melohn said. “I was striking out quite a bit leading off the game. Tonight I come out here in the three hole and go 3-for-3. I think my batting average in the three-hole is significantly better.”

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It's also helping the hitters behind him.

Connor Schnettgoecke, who formed a lethal tandem with Melohn at defensive end during football season, scored Melohn with an RBI single Thursday. 

“Out of the 20 RBIs I have, this guy probably accounts for 10 of them,” Schnettgoecke said. “It’s good to have that speed in front of you.” 

Schnettgoecke thrives on Melohn's ability not only to put the ball in play, but also to wreak havoc on the base paths.

“If he gets a single I know he’s getting to second base,” Schnettgoecke said. “That’s an RBI right there for me. If he gets a double or a triple I’m going to get an RBI if I put anything in the outfield.” 

Melohn has 23 steals in 24 attempts.

“I don’t know if I’m going to get those 100 stolen bases like I wanted,” Melohn joked. “It’s been a little off this year. But I’ve only been thrown out on the bases once this year. It’s all about getting a good jump. For me luckily with my speed I can get a little leeway. I like to be a problem on the bases.” 

Nevada's Gavin Melohn has 23 steals in 24 attempts this season.

When Melohn combines his ability to hit for both contact and power, the results are devastating for Nevada's opposition.

“I was blessed with speed and contact hitting,” Melohn said. “I always look for the extra base. I try to turn singles into doubles and doubles into triples.” 

Through the Humboldt game Melohn was hitting .435 with seven triples, six doubles and one home run. He's scored 29 times and picked up 18 RBIs.

Nevada (13-15) will wrap up the regular season July 5 at home against Boone. Then the Cubs face fifth-ranked Independence on the road in the first round of Class 3A substate play July 8.

Melohn will go on to play college baseball at Central College in Pella next year.

“I’m glad he’s going to keep playing,” Glenn said. “He’s a heck of an athlete.” 

But he still has some things he'd like to get done before his career winds down.

“Individually I’m looking for a .450 batting average and double-digit triples,” Melohn said. “As a team, obviously I’d like us to win out. Independence is probably the toughest game we’ll have. If we can win out against Boone and Independence my senior season would be complete.”