By Scott Vanscoy (For OzarksSportsZone.com)
This starts the fourth season for Adam Grisham at Miller High School and he is optimistic that things are going to get better for these young Cardinals. Miller loses just one letter winner and returns 10, with four starters returning to the lineup. Miller’s season did not go as well as they wanted last year, as they finished 6-13.
Senior Nathan Harlow will lead this young Cardinal squad. He was named 2nd Team All-Conference Utility last season and played for the West in the ABA Shrine Mosque Baseball Showcase Game at Hammons Field. Last season Harlow had a 1-1 record on the mound with a 5.42 era while batting .478 and collecting 28 RBI’s.
Senior infielder Jake Epps (2nd Team All-District Infield & Honorable Mention All-Conference Infield) and junior outfielder James Jeffers (Honorable Mention All-Conference Outfield) bring experience and leadership to the club. Epps led the team in hits with a .492 average and 19 stolen bases. Jeffers hit .388 while stealing 10 bases of his own.
Manning the hot corner for Miller will be sophomore Kaul Kleeman. Kleeman brings some pop to the lineup with his .509 average with 29 hits, 10 doubles, and 3 triples. Junior right fielder Tyler Franzen drove in 14 runs with a .392 average. Franzen will be counted on to increase his offensive potential.
Senior Colton Wright (DH/OF) leads a group of six letter-winners who will be vying for more varsity innings. Wright hit .317 last year and will try to up his production at the plate. Juniors Evan Bradley (RF/DH) and Dakota Sanders (1B) and sophomores Justin Jeffers (LF), Jesse Henderson (2B) and JR Strait (RF) bring experience and depth to the roster.
New to the Cardinals team this year are: senior Gabe Amburn (OF), juniors Devin Giraldo (2B/OF) and Kevin Scheel (OF), and sophomore Neilson Hadlock (2B/OF). Five freshmen will push the upper class for innings played this year. They are: Jeffry Lung (IF/C/OF/P), Gavin Hill (C/3B/1B/OF), Joel Kleeman (IF/P/C/OF), Trent Comer (OF/1B), and Austin Hargis (OF/1B). They will add versatility and enthusiasm to the lineup.
“We are going to get better defensively,” said Grisham. “We are still a young team, but we are a year older and with age comes experience. We have experience, we have talent, and we have depth. We are going to compete for everything and we are going to build the best defense in the conference.”
The outlook for these Cardinals is bright.
“We’re a very young team but we have talent, experience and depth at positions,” said Grisham. “We expect to compete in our conference and district.”