East Coast native Miller-Green will leave Amarillo with lifelong memory
East Coast native Lyle Miller-Green had never visited Amarillo until five weeks ago.
That’s when he joined the Amarillo Sod Squad, a wooden bat summer baseball team in the Texas Collegiate League.
When he departs Amarillo for his home in Burke, Va., early next week, Amarillo will be a place he may never forget for a couple of reasons.
“Me and a buddy did go out to the Big Texan but no, we didn’t try to eat the 72-ounce steak,” Miller-Green said.
Standing 6-foot-5 and a muscular 230 pounds, along with being a sophomore-to-be at George Mason, Miller-Green seems to be a safe bet of taking on the legendary 72 ouncer and devouring the massive beef within the hour time limit.
However, the big ol’ famous steak won’t top Miller-Green’s list of What I Won’t Ever Forget About Amarillo.
When the Sod Squad close out their regular season with a three-game homestand starting Friday against the Tulsa Drillers, Miller-Green is responsible for one of the highlight games of the entire 10-team TCL season.
On July 21, the only way to describe Miller-Green’s day is simply he went nuts in the Sod Squad’s 12-8 win over the Amarillo Sod Dogs at gorgeous Hodgetown (home of the San Diego Padres AA team The Sod Poodles).
Miller-Green opened his game with a rather innocent bloop double, then proceeded to hit a grand slam, a three-run triple and added a single hitting for the rare cycle in baseball.
He also added what is a 2020 league-high eight runs batted in during one game.
“Only time I hit for the cycle before was at a coach pitch scrimmage when I was 16,” Miller-Green said. “You can’t teach hits. You can only teach hard contact so you don’t show up at the ballpark saying I’m going to hit for the cycle today.”
Even after his single completing the cycle, Miller-Green wasn’t sure he’d accomplished the unique feat.
“I wasn’t actually sure if I had been given a double on the first hit since it was a bloop,” Miller-Green said. “So I didn’t know if it was a single or double. Then the eight RBIs were the most I’ve ever had. Six was the most I’d ever had before. I was just was trying to help the team win.”
Think about it? A grand slam. The cycle. Eight runs batted in. All in one game.
Sod Squad manager Brett Wellman praised Miller-Green for his effort all summer and the unforgettable night.
“The cycle was awesome,” Wellman said. “I’ve seen maybe one or two in my life. He’s obviously a strong kid. He’s a young hitter and immature hitter but at every at bat he’s figuring it out. He doesn’t make the same mistake twice.”
Miller-Green might be a stranger to Amarillo, but he’s no stranger to success.
As a hitter/pitcher in high school he earned second team All-American honors from MaxPreps and was named the Washington Post baseball player of the year while at Lake Braddock (Va.) Secondary.
“That was probably my greatest accolade,” Miller-Green said of the award from the iconic newspaper.
Lake Braddock is basically in the Washington DC area where Miller-Green said being close to so many historic places like the White House “you take for granted until you are away from there.”
While a torn labrum his junior year in high school slowed his recruiting prowess, he signed with nearby George Mason and played 15 games last spring before Covid-19 shutdown the season.
Although George Mason struggled along at 1-14, Miller-Green started all 15 games as a true freshman hitting .333 with two homers and nine RBIs (second on the team).
“One day our pitching would suck and our hitting was kind of there and then the next game our hitting would suck and our pitching was sort of there,” Miller-Green said explaining the 1-14 George Mason season.
He also made five appearances pitching compiling a 4.19 earned run average, striking out eight in 7 1/3 innings pitched.
“I’ve been up to 93 (on the radar gun) but it’s mainly 88-89ish,” Miller-Green said of his fastball. “I went to George Mason because that was the only school who would let me hit and pitch. I want to do both as long as I can but one day it will come down to whether I pitch or hit.”
Wellman hasn’t seen Miller-Green throw off a mound although it’s not from lack of effort.
“I heard he’s a good pitcher and is begging me to throw an inning,” Wellman said. “But his coach told him no and I’m not about to go against it. Lyle’s awesome. He’s had big hit after big hit for us. He’s a great kid and swings the bat at a high level. He’s a pleasure to be around.”
Miller-Green is actually perfectly fine resting his arm this summer.
“My coach shut me down and that’s good with me,” Miller-Green said. “I play for your school now and they have a say in your career.”
What Miller-Green has done is hit for the Sod Squad playing first base seeing some time as a designated hitter. He ranks 17th in the TCL hitting .305 showing some good pop in his bat with four doubles, two triples and two homers.
“It’s been awesome here in Amarillo,” said Miller-Green, a proud New York Yankees fan living in the heart Washington Nationals country. “I’ve never been this far west. I’ve been to Austin. The big thing here is the weather - it’s hot. But it’s a dry heat. It’s so humid back home.”
Miller-Green will be back in the humidity soon. Although he chose to wear jersey No. 13 this summer (his college number was 24), he has proven one lucky find for the Sod Squad.
“This has been an awesome time,” Miller-Green said. “I mean it’s been great competition I’ve been playing against. Especially, since I’ve never played baseball out west.
“I’ll for sure stay in touch with these guys. I didn’t know a single person before I came and now I have new friends. And the fans have been great to us.”
And what about July 21, 2020 in Amarillo?
“That was so much fun,” Miller-Green said of hitting the cycle and driving in eight runs. “It just happens. You never come to the park and I say I’m going to hit for the cycle. Hitting a grand slam and for the cycle in the same game? Are you kidding. That’s a game I won’t forget.”