3 Lions on All-League baseball squad
Miller, McNeill, McMillin lauded by KVL coaches
Kyle Miller knew the Lansing High baseball team needed somebody to step up this season after losing a talented senior class to graduation after the 2006 season.
Miller opted to be one of those players to answer the call in 2007, and the LHS senior garnered All-Kaw Valley League first-team honors for his efforts.
Two others who took on greater roles this season, fellow seniors, outfielder Tylor McNeill and pitcher Matt McMillin, earned honorable mention status.
"I think we all stepped up a lot this year, and everyone made improvements in the offseason," Miller said. "They both worked as hard as I did, if not harder."
Miller, a third baseman, was selected as the league's designated hitter. He hit .429 this season and slugged four home runs. He also had three triples, 27 RBI and 25 stolen bases. Miller's 25 steals set a new program record.
"Kyle Miller was a definite first-team guy in my mind, and the other coaches were in agreement," LHS coach Troy Andrews said. "The coaches were kind of in awe of him because they know how big he was, he could hit for power, and then he led the team in stolen bases. That was pretty impressive on his part."
Andrews said Miller's statistical line was even more impressive considering how much he improved since last year.
"Last season he struggled a little bit defensively at third base, and he really worked on that. He wasn't happy with his speed, so he buckled down in the offseason and worked to get faster," Andrews said. "He's the one kid you should take as the example of what hard work can do for you."
Miller credited current and former teammates with helping him get better.
"(2006 seniors) Chris Wagner and Cody Mohan) helped me so much this summer with swinging and throwing," Miller said. "Tylor and John Sebes worked out with me all winter, and we got bigger and just worked on baseball all year."
McNeill also was a steady contributor at the plate. He hit .300 and set a team record with 26 walks while batting second in the lineup.
"He had plenty of intangibles with his outfielding skills, his high on-base percentage and he improved his speed on the bases," Andrews said.
McMillin was the Lions' most dominant pitcher. He threw 52 innings this spring, posted a 4-4 record and tossed a no-hitter against Tonganoxie on April 30.
Andrews was quick to point out that McMillin was the only KVL pitcher to be named honorable mention and one of just five to earn postseason honors. Andrews said that was impressive considering two of those five pitchers honored were from Bishop Ward, winner of five straight Class 4A state championships.
"I was really hoping to get him on the second team, but he's in the top five in a league that was loaded," Andrews said. "You've got some great pitchers in the league, and Matt was one of them."