by Steve Mims
Andy Miller’s road from Seattle University to Lane Community College will run through the Springfield.
The Beaverton native was an infielder at Mountainside High School before being switched to a pitcher as a freshman with the Redhawks this spring. Miller decided to transfer to LCC for his sophomore season so he could be a two-way player.
“I was brought in as an infielder, I had never pitched before in my life, but pitching coach Carter Capps saw me as a pitcher,” Miller said. “I want to be a two-way player so I think going to a junior college will be a good experience for me to do both and then I plan to go play somewhere after that.”
LCC coach Josh Blunt recruited Miller and helped him get a spot this summer with the Springfield Drifters, a second-year team in the West Coast League, a college wood-bat league featuring some of the top college players in the country.
“That will be a good experience for me to pitch some innings and also get a ton of at-bats,” Miller said. “I am excited because I have heard it is a super-completive league. I think after my freshman year to get experience playing baseball for a whole summer will be really useful.”
His parents, Joe and Colleen, will have a short trip to Hamlin Field where the Drifters will play 30 of their 57 games. Tickets for the season are on sale now.
“I am excited for my parents to be able to watch me,” Miller said. “I have been to Eugene a few times and played down there so living there before going to Lane will help me get to know some people, so that will be helpful.”
Miller has pitched in three games this season, against Long Beach State, USC, and Washington State.
“Before this season, the last time I pitched was my freshman year in high school, but I have started to like pitching more and more,” he said. “The first couple times in team scrimmages it was pretty weird, but I got in a couple games and it was special pitching at some places that are super historic. Being here is special knowing that I have a good defense behind me. Even though I have only appeared in a few games, it was a good experience. To travel with the team and get a couple of innings was good.”
The 6-foot-2, 170-pound Miller works with pitchers in practice, but continues to hit on his own time and has also worked in the outfield.
“I want to stay sharp for the summer and next season,” he said. “I always played shortstop and third base, but this year I have been in the outfield so now I can do both.”
Miller was a three-sport athlete as a freshman at Mountainside, but was 5-6 as a sophomore when he stopped playing basketball. He played football until his senior year when he earned all-conference honors in baseball as well as a Gold Glove.
“My last year, I wanted to focus on baseball so I did not get hit in football and also I wanted to prove myself in baseball and have a good season,” he said. “It was tough not to step on the field with my friends, but going baseball-only was the right move.”