WHEELERSBURG — When Jalen Miller gets to college, he’ll be there because of his strong kicking leg. But don’t be so soon to forget about his pitching arm or presence at the plate.
The future Morehead State kicker has business to attend to before he becomes an Eagle. Helping lead Wheelersburg to a 16-4 overall record so far, Miller has taken a team-first approach in everything he does.
He even switched to center field after playing shortstop the past two years because he felt it was “the best thing for the team to be successful.”
Before the Pirates’ tournament stretch begins, we caught up with Miller and asked the senior about this year’s team, his position change, his future and much, much more.
Question: Let’s talk about you personally. You have such a presence in the batter’s box. Can you talk about what you bring each game and what you try to do at the plate?
Miller: These past two years, I haven’t been too happy with what I’ve done at the plate. I’d get base hits here and there but, this year being a senior, I wanted to step up. I wanted to be able to be that man. You’ve got guys on first and second and you’re the three-hole … I wanted to be that guy who brought those runners in early and often.
Q: You switched from shortstop to center field at the beginning of the season. What was behind that decision to change positions?
JM: We had a couple of new guys come in. Trent Salyers came and took the second base position and him, Connor [Mullins] and I are pretty athletic guys. We’re able to move a lot. So I thought it’d be in the team’s best interest for me to move to the outfield. I can cover some ground. So pretty much, it was an easy decision. Whatever’s best for the team. We got it done.
Q: You’re going to be at Morehead State in no time. But before that happens, what would you like to see this team accomplish?
JM: I think the ceiling for this team is the sky. We have a lot of guys who come in and put work in everyday. Last year, we weren’t too happy with how our season ended. I think we can do a lot here. I think we can win a state championship if everybody buys in and does their job.
Q: When you look back over your four years, what’s the legacy you hope to leave as a senior class?
JM: We want to be perfect all the time. We want to be that team that everybody looks back to and says, ‘Man, that 2019 class did it. They had a lot of guys who wanted to show up everyday.’ We want to show the younger guys that this is how you do it. We want to pave the way.
Q: What’s coach Moore done so well in his first year to pull all of you guys together?
JM: When he first showed up, we were a little leery. Like, how was it going to change? How’s the transition going to happen? But he kept it the exact same. Practices, games are ran the exact same. For us, we have to deal with change a lot but when we don’t have to change, it makes it a lot easier.
Q: What are you more excited about, starting that next chapter in college or the rest of this season?
JM: I try to take things as they come. Right now, I want to finish this season out with a state championship with my guys. But [college] is always in the back of my mind. You’ve got to be in the weight room, be out there practicing for kicking and just taking it one game at a time.
© 2019 Portsmouth Daily Times, all rights reserved