The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

May 6, 2013

Miller baseball looks to rebound from loss

By Anvil Welch
Globe Sports Writer

MILLER, Mo. — Miller, bidding to go unscathed in Spring River Valley Conference baseball, must rebound from only its second loss of the prep campaign.

The Class 2 Cardinals (13-2, 7-0) entertain Jasper at 4 p.m. today and visit Golden City at 6 p.m. on Thursday to finish in the SRVC.

The Cardinals, in their second year under Scott Brakebill, didn’t sneak up on opponents after a 15-7 performance in 2012.

Said Brakebill on Monday: “We were solid last season. Plus, we had some kids come out this year that have been able to bolster the team. Success brings the kids out.”

The Cardinals, in a semifinal of their annual tournament last week, were jolted 8-0 in six innings by Class 3 Fair Grove. Visiting Class 4 Mount Vernon handed Miller a 4-2 loss on April 22.

Dalton Gulick, a senior right-hander, is the Miller pitching ace at 6-1, Brakebill said. Gulick was a unanimous all-league selection in 2012.

Top four in the usual Miller batting order, with Gulick on the mound, consists of senior second baseman Brock Johnson, sophomore shortstop Boby Johnson, Gulick and senior left fielder David Hartley,

Completing the usual lineup are sophomore first baseman Jordan Jack, freshman third baseman Dylan Hill, sophomore right fielder Trey Hill, junior catcher Tyler Douglas and junior center fielder Austin Brown.

Plus, Brakebill said, freshman Isaac Butler is the usual designated hitter.

Rounding out the roster are sophomore second sacker Jordan Collins, junior catcher Ryan Crane, junior outfielder Ty Cummings, sophomore outfielder Anthony Fox and sophomore first baseman Isaac Hill.

Isaac and Dylan Hill are cousins. Brock and Boby Johnson, also the No. 2 hurler, are brothers. Dylan and Trey Hill aren’t related.

Brakeblll said the arrival of Brock and Boby Johnson last season from South Carolina provided immediate help.

“The Johnsons previously had attended school in Miller,” Brakebill said.

The top four Miller batters lead the offense, Brakebill said, with Hartley averaging more than .500 and Gulick, a four-year starter, and the Johnsons averaging more than .400.

Hartley and the Johnson brothers earned all-SRVC on the second unit in 2012.

“Gulick, whom I’d estimate is a 6-foot-1, 175-pounder, really wants to play in college,” Brakebill said.

“We’re balanced (on offense),” Brakebill said. “Brock Johnson has stolen more than 20 bases. Four different players have hit home runs. We recently hit three homers in one inning.”

Boby Johnson, who’s 4-1, is the Cardinals’ No. 2 hurler, Brakebill said. Brown and Jack, a left-hander, also has won games on the mound.

Brakebill, who’s assisted by former Webb City head coach Kevin Frazier, helped Danny Barrett one season before promoted to the head position.

The Cardinals are seeded No. 1 in the District 12 Tournament at Crane. They have a bye in the first round and will play the winner of fourth-seeded Crane and Marionville at 4:30 p.m. on May 13 in a semifinal.

Brakebill, a graduate of Bolivar High School (1998) and Missouri State University, played baseball for the Liberators under Robert Buffington and Todd Schrader before concentrating on basketball.