Shelby Miller is going to be a Trojan.
No, the Cardinals pitcher is not being sent to some unknown expansion team.
This Shelby Miller is a four-year varsity softball player for the Union Lady ’Cats and she’s inked to continue her playing career with Hannibal-LaGrange University next season.
“It’s not much trouble,” Shelby said. “People tell me I’m pitching tonight. I tell them that I really don’t watch baseball, so sure, I’m pitching.”
Shelby reminds people that she was playing at Union before the pitcher reached the big leagues.
“I wish the money came with it,” Miller said.
The Shelby Miller this story’s about has been a four-year starter at shortstop for the Lady ’Cats, although with the St. Louis Classics Gold softball team, she’s played second base as well.
Miller helped Union win 19 games this season and reach the Class 3 District 9 championship game. She earned All-Four Rivers Conference and All-District 9 honors this season. Additionally, Shelby was named to the All-Region team by the high school coaches association.
Get On the Bus
With Union, Miller has a number of good memories of playing with the Lady ’Cats. And some of those actually have been on the field.
“We always look forward to away games so we can ride the bus,” Miller said. “We always go to the back of the bus and blare music. If there’s no music playing, we all sing. We actually get in trouble for our bus rides. We end up running because we stand up. I like sitting up on top of the seats, perched like a little bird, and they always tell me to sit down. We have a pretty good bus driver.”
On the field, Miller has fond memories of her freshman season and of Union’s team last year.
“I remember my freshman year at Hermann,” Miller said. “They hit a grounder up the middle and I turned my own unassisted double play. I ran off the season with Kris Stevens and she said it was the first double play she had seen playing for Union.”
Overall, Miller said being able to play with the seasoned veterans was a great experience.
“There’s a lot from my freshman year with all of the seniors,” Miller said. “There are a lot of good memories from last year when we were so good. We had such a good record going into the Sullivan game.”
Union’s 2012 team, which ended up 17-6 overall, brought more good times.
“Last year probably was the best season softball wise,” Miller said.
Miller had a nine-year run with the Classics Gold team, one that almost never happened.
“I remember when I tried out,” Miller said. “I tried out with a whole different team and I got hit in the head.”
Miller had gone out for the Angels softball team, but was not kept for that program.
“I tried out for the Angels and they told me I wasn’t good enough to be there,” Miller said. “My dad (Jeff Miller) showed me another field and another team and we went over there.”
Things didn’t get better.
“Since I was late due to being at the other tryout, Coach (Katie) Duffin and I played catch,” Miller said. “She was throwing about 10 feet away and I missed the first one and hit me right in the head! I don’t know what she saw in me. I couldn’t catch a ball. I guess that’s where it all started.”
Miller played the next nine club seasons with Duffin and Sharon Sullivan.
“I was the type of athlete who had to get yelled at to do better,” Shelby said. “I always was pushed harder because I could do better.”
Miller and one other player, Claire Sweetman, lasted the entire run.
“Only two of us, Claire (graduated John Burroughs last spring) and I, were the only ones to last the entire nine years,” said Miller. “We just had a connection. She was a pitcher and I played middle infield.”
It was through club ball that Miller found out about Hannibal-LaGrange.
“I emailed them before our season started and asked if they could come and watch me in Kansas City on Memorial Day Weekend,” Miller said. “They emailed me back a couple of weeks later for a visit. They came and watched me again at nationals and that’s where it all started.”
Miller is happy to have her college choice taken care of so early in her senior year.
“I’m excited,” Miller said. “It’s taken care of and I don’t have to worry about it the rest of the school year.”
At Hannibal-LaGrange, Miller hopes to major in biology and follow it up with further education.
“I want to major in biology and then go onto veterinary school,” Miller said. “I want to be a vet. I also want to play some softball.”
Miller is thankful for everyone who can make an impact on her career.
“Thanks to everyone who has made me who I am,” Miller said.
Shelby’s parents are Jeff and Paula Miller.