Over 2,000 miles away, Miller and his Jacksonville State University teammates are pushing for an Ohio Valley Conference title. So far the Gamecocks are off to a good start in reaching their goal.
“We started off kind of rough but we came together and started putting some wins together,” Miller said. “We started off league really hot. I think we’re second in league right now. We just have to keep putting wins together.”
After starting the season off slow out of conference play, Jacksonville State has made a run through the OVC and is now sitting in a three-way tie for second place at 9-5 in the Ohio Valley and 15-22 overall. While the Gamecocks seemed to have found the right track, Miller still wants to improve his personal game.
“I started the year off pretty good but it kind of slowed down now,” Miller said. “I just need to stay focused and work some things out with my swing. Other than that, the team is playing great and we’re looking to keep it going.”
Miller, a junior at JSU, said he has enjoyed his time in Jacksonville, Ala.
“It’s been great,” Miller said. “The team is great. The coaches are really hands on and helpful. It’s just a great atmosphere to be in and play baseball.”
Baseball is not the only area of life that Miller grew fond of while in Jacksonville.
“I think it is just the different atmosphere,” Miller said. “I mean coming from the West Coast down to the South is definitely a culture shock. It’s just definitely a different style of playing baseball and definitely a different lifestyle.
“I think the biggest difference is definitely just the pace of life. Everything down south is kind of slow and more laid back. The people are definitely a lot nicer and a little more responsive to what you need. I think that’s probably what I have enjoyed the most.”
That easy-going lifestyle does not end when you reach the ballpark either.
“It’s not so much about trying to micro-manage the game here,” Miller said. “They definitely let your athletic ability show through when you play and not so much trying to control the game. I think here it’s more of just raw talent that shows through.
“I guess it’s just the open-mindedness to the game of baseball. Out here you kind of just go out and play. It’s just baseball. No matter how you coach it or no matter how you play it, it’s just the same game.”
With that freedom of the game and the raw talent that is showcased on a daily basis, Miller has had to make a few adjustments to his game.
“You just have to kind of focus on details more,” Miller said. “I mean you have to be aware of everything that’s going on because something that a pitcher does or something that other hitters do can definitely help you out. You’re just focusing on every little detail and it really helps you out.
“The game is just so much faster. It’s just the speed of the game. You have to focus on every pitch. You have to focus on every pitch of every inning. There’s nothing you can miss. There’s just no time you can take off. You have to be in the game every pitch.”
Taking that approach and making sure he does not miss a single second of a game, Miller’s goals remain high for the rest of this season and next, as well as in the classroom.
“As far as this season goes I’m just hoping to help contribute to winning league and then going to the tournament and hopefully winning that and then go to the super regionals and then the College World Series if we’re thankful enough to make it there,” Miller said. “As far as going into my senior season, there’s a lot of things I can work on. Hopefully I can just come out next year and definitely be a part of a team that is successful and I can contribute. Off the baseball field, I’m hoping to go to law school after I graduate and kind of go that route. I haven’t really stuck my mind on one set thing, but I’m definitely considering law school after.”