Diamond day

May 31, 2011|By Doug Miller

It was a family reunion of sorts.

I was in College Park on Saturday with my wife and our older daughter and a couple of family friends to watch the Howard High softball team tangle with Calvert County’s Northern High School for the 3A state championship. My father, who was the home plate umpire during the 1A matchup between Loch Raven and Catoctin later that day, arrived early, and our brother-in-law and nephew showed up unexpectedly.

All attended the game knowing it was very unlikely that Howard reserve outfielder Julia Miller would see any action.

Julia knew it too. Her playing time for her high school team had come sparingly all year long, but that didn’t stop her from cheering so loudly for her teammates that her travel team coach has taken to calling her Kathleen Turner because of her hoarse and husky voice.

It was a thrill for her just to warm up on the field where the University of Maryland varsity plays. She got the biggest kick out of hanging on the dugout fence the way the Division I players do on TV.

If you’ve clicked on the link above, you know that Howard lost to a team that has now won four consecutive state titles, behind the same pitcher, Katilyn Schmeiser, whose superior rise ball had Lions hitters baffled most of the day. Schmeiser will play for Maryland next year.

The travel season has already begun, and most of our weekends until August will be devoted to tournaments. Julia will play a lot more, primarily as a pitcher.

But no matter how successful she and the rest of the Howard County Youth Program Patriots Red team are this year, being on the big stage — even as an extra — will hold an important place in her memory.

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