Brennan Milone staked his claim among the best players in the Woodstock baseball program’s history during his senior season.
Already a three-year starter during the most successful stretch the Wolverines had ever experienced, Milone made his fourth season the best of his career.
“We wanted a state championship,” Milone said. “We’ve been so close so many times, that was the team goal. Personally, I just wanted to help the team as much as possible. I just wanted to have the best season possible. I think we did pretty well with that, just came up a little bit short.”
Milone, the 2019 Cherokee Tribune Baseball Player of the Year, was an asset at shortstop, but he did most of his damage at the plate.
He hit .464 with 12 home runs and 40 RBIs this season and surpassed current Atlanta Braves outfielder Nick Markakis to own the Woodstock records in career home runs, RBIs, walks, runs and hits.
“It means a lot,” Milone said. “I know it’s just high school stats, but to be able to put my name in the same category as (Markakis) keeps me going. It’s been really cool. I never even thought about breaking records. When I found out at the end of the season, it was cool. It makes me want to keep working to get where he is one day.”
Milone’s jump in production was actually the product of him trying to do less at the plate.
Milone said he spent his junior season swinging for the fences, but when he simplified his approach at the plate, things came more easily, and his average jumped by nearly 100 points.
“My junior year, I hit a lot of home runs,” he said. “My average was decent, but it wasn’t where I wanted it to be. This year, I took more of a left-center, line-drive approach. When they left one in, that’s when I was able to turn on it. It showed in my average, staying in my approach and letting the game come to me.”
To take advantage of his new approach, Milone had to take advantage when moments presented themselves. Opposing pitchers often pitched around him, and while he did not mind drawing a team-high 35 walks, Milone preferred punishing pitchers when they did make mistakes.
“No matter how much you’re getting pitched around, you still have to be ready to hit the pitch you get," Milone said. "You don’t get many of them, so, when it comes, you have to be ready to hit them. It’s an adjustment, but you have to be ready with that approach.”
Milone’s high school career was capped during the Major League Baseball draft, when the Los Angeles Dodgers selected him in the 28th round.
Though Milone said being drafted was one of the highest honors of his career, he will be playing at South Carolina, to which he committed as a sophomore and hopes to make an impact right away.
“I just want to find ways to help the team as soon as possible,” Milone said. “You know the competition is going to be tough. I just know we want to get to Omaha and win (the College World Series). They have had a couple tough years there, but, at that program, we know how high the expectations are.”