Sterling’s Miller Could Be Wild Card

Sterling’s Miller Could Be Wild Card Sterling’s Miller Could Be A Wild Card In The Playoffs

The NJSIAA baseball state tournament will begin in a few weeks, and one team that will be interesting to watch is Sterling.

The Silver Knights began the week just 6-9, so on paper, that doesn’t appear to be a team to worry about. While Sterling won’t be listed anywhere near the favorites in South Jersey Group 2, the Silver Knights have something that should scare any opponent – a true ace.

That would be senior lefthander Andrew Miller (pictured), yet another top player from South Jersey who is headed to the University of Maryland.

Miller throws hard and has great movement on his pitches.

And even though Group 2 is loaded, with top teams such as defending state champion Buena along with Haddonfield, Sterling has the ability to give anybody a highly competitive game with Miller on the mound.

Sterling’s second pitcher, Ryan Smith, is a also capable of beating strong teams. He doesn’t throw as hard as Miller, but has pitched in some big games.

Yet Miller, who is also a strong hitter, is the type of pitcher who can carry a team.

An example was on Friday when Miller and Sterling lost a tough 5-4 decision to Haddonfield.

That improved Haddonfield’s record to 16-0 although the Bulldogs lost the next day to Triton in the Camden County Tournament.

In that game, Miller was in control until he tired in the seventh inning.

And Haddonfield, being the opportunistic team that it is, took advantage of it.

The Bulldogs trailed Sterling 4-2 entering the bottom of the seventh, and knocked Miller out of the game after he threw 129 pitches.

Smith then came in and Haddonfield walked, reached base on an error and then scored the winning run on an RBI single up the middle by Drew Dark.

Sterling has now played two competitive games with Haddonfield, and even though the Silver Knights lost them both, to be close with one of the Group 2 favorites has to be encouraging.

Haddonfield won the first meeting, 5-2 on April 2 and that was a game in which Miller didn’t pitch. In last week’s game, Miller was able to limit a potent Haddonfield offense to just three hits.

The key in the state tournament--not just for Miller, but for any pitcher--is to limit the walks.

Teams play the game differently in the state tournament, and if somebody is issued, say a leadoff walk, more likely than not, the team is trying to advance him to second and into scoring position.

That’s because in the state tournament, at least in the first round, teams are matching their aces against one another and runs aren’t always easy to come by.

They certainly aren’t against the 6-foot-3, 210-pound Miller, who could be a major factor in the upcoming state tournament and a reason that anybody facing Sterling has to take the Silver Knights seriously. Photo: (Marc Narducci) Sterling's Andrew Miller

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Author: Marc Narducci; photo by Marc Narducci

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