6 July 2004
THIS WEEK IN THE CAPE LEAGUE
Miller leaves Falmouth hitters in Fog
It’s tough enough for a batter to pick up a 94-mile-per-hour fastball.
It’s even tougher when the fastball is coming from the hand of Andrew Miller, a 6-foot-6 Chatham lefthander who delivers the ball from his hip to disguise the pitch.
Two nights later, fog returned to Veterans Field, to greet the visiting Orleans Cardinals
League File SW / 2004
But it’s close to impossible when the ball doesn’t emerge from a background of fog until the last possible moment.
Miller, a freshman out of North Carolina, took advantage of the conditions on Friday night to strike out the side in each of the first four innings of Chatham’s game against Falmouth.
Unfortunately for Miller’s flirtation with the record books, umpires eventually decided to postpone the game due to the fog. But Miller had enough time to impress all in attendance, including scouts from seven major league teams.
“Oooh,” whistled one scout after Falmouth’s Jacoby Ellsbury swung at and missed an 84-mile-per-hour change. “Thanks for coming!”
After slugger Mark Hamilton went down on a low curveball to end the fourth, it was clear Miller’s night had been extraordinary.
“That was pretty special tonight,” said Chatham coach John Schiffner. “It was quite impressive – but he has been quite impressive all summer. We’re really fortunate he’s here.”
While the fog likely aided Miller’s feat, it couldn’t have been easy for him to see the weather conditions end the game short of the five innings required.
“If they thought it was maybe a safety problem with the batters not being able to see the ball, then obviously they’re making the right call,” said Chatham general manager Charlie Thoms. “But boy, to erase that one off the books…”
Even before Friday night’s gem, Miller had struck out 16 batters in 13 innings, and his earned run average stood at 1.38.
He admitted, though, that he needed to learn how to turn in quality starts on a consistent basis before he can succeed at the next level.
“That just takes time and practice and experience,” he said. “I think I got better towards the end of the (school) year in terms of being consistent and throwing strikes, but that’s still probably the main area I need to improve on. I’ve got plenty of room to improve.”
For now, though, he just needs to overcome the frustration of losing a near-perfect start to the weather conditions.
So far, so good.
“I’ve had kids in this exact situation – the game got fogged out, they were winning the game,” Schiffner said. “There’s a glove thrown in the dugout, there’s a temper tantrum, they might yell something at the umpire.
“(Miller) just goes, ‘Ah, jeez. Just four more outs. Gosh darn, that’s too bad.’ That’s perfect. That’s the way you should be. To me, that’s the attitude of a major leaguer.” -- By Brian MacPherson, CCBL Intern, email@example.com
John Garner, Jr.
CCBL Director of Public Relations & Broadcasting
(508) 790-0394 firstname.lastname@example.org
Bruce hack, League Historian