While it's a bit of bad timing it is rather fitting that Ian Meshay had to make a choice between playing in an all-star game and attending commencement.
The Ahwatukee Foothills resident and Arizona Lutheran Academy graduate could have played as a third baseman in Saturday's Arizona Baseball Coaches Association's Class 1A/2A all-star game at Surprise Stadium, but it would have made it hard to give his speech as ALA's valedictorian.
"It was really tough because I had to choose one or the other," Meshay said. "I thought I could leave (the baseball game) early, but it didn't work out."
Meshay's decision is symbolic of his high school career ending as he is done playing organized baseball and is off to Arizona State's Barrett Honors College where he is plans on majoring in pre-med.
"It still would have been nice to get a few more at-bats in," he said.
Meshay, who said his speech was about courage with a few jokes mixed in, picked up eight letters during his career with four in baseball, three in basketball and one in football.
He was also part of the A cappella choir, on the student council and earned a 4.0 GPA and it led to him being nominated by the school for two Arizona Interscholastic Association annual awards.
Meshay didn't come away the winner in either Scholar Athlete of the Year or the Athlete of the Year, which was announced May 16, but it doesn't take away from the impression he left on the school.
"Ian is a tremendously talented young man," athletic director and basketball coach Doug Meyer said. "We are going to miss him."
Meshay, who lives in the Mountain Pointe boundaries, said he was honored to even be considered despite not coming away as the winner.
"It was as good of an accomplishment I had in high school," he said. "There were only three finalists (for each category) in the entire state and I was proud to be one of them."
Meshay developed into one of the team's best players as he hit .456 and five home runs and 16 RBIs to finish his career with an average of .387 with 10 home runs and 73 RBIs.
"He came in as this skinny little freshman," baseball coach Matt Sonntag said. "He was first-team all-region (Class 2A West) and made the all-star team. I am not sure I could have envisioned that four years ago but he worked hard and became one of our dependable hitters and leaders."
Meshay, whose brother Noah, a sophomore, was on the team, has experienced nearly every facet of high school life but the ones that will stick with him the longest are the road trips, as he went to Southern California and Seattle for tournaments and got a chance to go to Wisconsin, Minnesota and Carnegie Hall in New York City with his choir.
"Those were the best times, getting a chance to bond away from the field and choir room," he said. "Carnegie Hall was an amazing once-in-a lifetime opportunity."
Meshay, who also considered UCLA, Arizona and UC San Diego, will soon be getting ready for his first year of college, where his expects to keep his usual standard of success.
"I have been looking into studying aboard, too," he said. "I am looking forward to challenges of the next few chapters of my life."
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