Succeeding as a hitter in Division I baseball is difficult. Pitching at the collegiate level is arguably even tougher. But for the Big Train’s Kevin Milam (St. Mary’s), he does both exceptionally well.
“My coach told me at the beginning of the year that if I was going to do both that one, I needed to get in really good shape,” Milan said. “Then two, I needed to be able to take care of my body and with my lifting, my stretching, all that stuff and three, that it was just overall going to be just a mental grind.”
Milam entered this summer coming off an incredible freshman season at St. Mary’s. The Brentwood, CA native was 3-1 with a 2.27 ERA, racking up 31 strikeouts in 39.2 innings pitched. Opposing batters also hit just .191 against him.
At the dish he was equally as phenomenal. Milam started 57 games for the Gaels hitting .313 while leading the team in home runs (12) and RBIs (44). He was also third in doubles (14) and hits (67).
As a result of his incredible stats both on the mound and in the batters box, Collegiate Baseball Newspaper and D1Baseball.com named Milam a Third Team All-American. He was also recognized as a Freshman All-American by four separate college baseball outlets and earned WCC Freshman of the Year honors.
“Anytime that you are recognized for playing well in the things that you do makes every single thing worth it,” Milam said.
As for this summer, Milam has continued to be a dual-threat for the Big Train. He currently boasts a .340 average with four home runs, eight doubles and 19 RBI. On the bump, he is 3-1 with a 2.88 ERA and 21 strikeouts in 25 innings of work. And despite being a reliever at St. Mary’s, Milam even started two games for Bethesda, most notably Wednesday’s division-clinching, 10-4 win over the Alexandria Aces.
Against the Aces Milam went six innings as the starter, giving up just two runs on five hits to go with six strikeouts. At the plate, he finished 3-for-5 with four RBIs, including a three-run home run that sent the Big Train off to an early 6-0 lead.
“When I was in season our coach really said it takes one person to step up in a game like that and I always want to be that guy,” Milam said. “I love to have the spotlight; I love to have the pressure; it’s what I thrive for.”
Milam’s ability to perform as both a hitter and pitcher was also evident in the Cal Ripken Collegiate Baseball League All-Star Game on July 10. Milam was named the game MVP after going 1-for-3 with an RBI and a walk from the plate while also picking up the save for the South All-Stars in their 3-0 win.
"It's honestly pretty nice when I do both because I always play my best when I'm pouring sweat and I'm hot and I'm in the game and I'm wearing it," Milam said. "When I'm pitching I'm pouring sweat, I'm feeling it on the mound and when I get to the plate I still have that same focus. I'm locked in."
Now as the Big Train turn their sights toward the CRCBL playoffs, they need both Milam’s bat and arm to deliver if they hope to defend their league title.
“Just take every single day like it’s just another game and you got to do the things you got to do," Milam said of his playoff approach. "You don’t have to do anything more, you shouldn’t do anything less and you just got to go out there and play your game.”
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