By Tim Chambers
Joe Nix has seen many baseball players come and go in four seasons as head coach at Elizabethton, but one has been a fixture during that time span.
Thomas Miller emerged as the starting catcher midway through his freshman season and has never relinquished that spot.
But all good things must come to an end, and ’Betsy’s insurance policy behind the plate is now getting ready to expire.
Miller has been a “piece of the rock” in Elizabethton’s success, but next year the catching duties in Murfreesboro will “be in good hands.”
On Wednesday afternoon, with his teammates, coaches and family looking on at EHS, the three-year all-conference standout signed a NCAA Division 1 baseball scholarship to play at Middle Tennessee State University.
Miller has reaped several honors as a starter, including being selected as the Three Rivers Conference and Elizabethton Star’s Player of the year.
During his junior campaign, he batted .446 with 10 doubles, and 30 RBIs and 33 games.
He currently is hitting .349 with an on-base percentage right at .500.
Yet it’s the defensive side where he shines brightest.
According to Miller, it was a catching camp that caught the eye of the MTSU staff.
“I went down there to a baseball camp and loved what I saw,” said Miller. “They’ve done a lot of renovation on their baseball facilities, and that plus the campus sold me. I lived in Franklin growing up, so I’m familiar with the area. It’s a great opportunity for me as a player. I’m honored that they’ve given me a chance to take my talents down there.”
Miller has spent his career as a catcher, but has mastered the role of closer this year. Yet he knows which side the bread is buttered on when he arrives at Murfreesboro next fall.
“They recruited me solely as a catcher,” said Miller with a smile. “I’ll have to spend a lot of time in the weight room to play at that level. The speed of the game is totally different, but I’ve always worked hard and have been able to adapt. I feel confident I’ll be able to pick things up once I get there and begin workouts.”