By Chris Parker
Miller baseball is looking to climb back above .500 for the first time since 2015 behind three returning all-conference players.
Those three players are: Joel Kleeman (pitcher/outfield/corner infield), Kaul Kleeman (catcher/pitcher) and Jeff Lung (shortstop/pitcher).
Joel Kleeman was a first-team all-conference selection at DH/Utility last season. He hit .368 with 19 RBI and 11 stolen bases last year.
“Joel’s best asset is his ability to compete at any spot, every day, never complains, just a complete gamer,” Miller head coach Keaton Presley said. “Joel is going to pick up right where he left off, he will be our No. 1 pitcher & centerfielder that locks down the outfield.”
Kaul Kleeman returns behind the plate where he was named second-team all-conference. He hit .377 with 28 RBI and 18 stolen bases last year.
“Kaul has exceptional talent and is getting better each day, we will lean heavily on him this year,” Presley said.
Lung will lead the infield defense at shortstop. He hit .318 with 16 RBI and 21 stolen bases last year.
“Jeff played all summer with 417 baseball. He has come back stronger and looking to drive in some more runs this year from the leadoff spot,” Presley said.
Senior Justin Jeffers will play outfield for the Cardinals. Juniors Logan Addams, Isaiah Bolin and Gavin Hill will be key players. Addams (Glendale) and Bolin (Mt. Vernon) are both transfers into the program. Sophomore Brenden Thom and Joey Williams along with freshman Brady Johnson round out the key players to watch for on the varsity level.
“We return almost all of our starters last year with two talented transfer players. They will add to the depth of our pitching staff. We hit very well last year and will only improve with our 1-7 returning in the lineup,” Presley said.
Miller opens the season on Mar. 20 at Exeter.