Baseball is a family affair for Denmark’s Millers

Published: May. 14, 2023 at 7:52 PM CDT|Updated: May. 14, 2023 at 11:08 PM CDT
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DENMARK, Wis. (WBAY) - Baseball is a family affair for the Millers.

“Baseball has kind of revolved around my family pretty much since my birth. Just growing up being at the varsity practices as a kid, him being around baseball the last 32 years of his life,” said Denmark senior Lucas Miller.

For more than three decades business has been good for Denmark baseball and the Millers.

“Maybe it means I’ve been doing this for too long, coaching over thirty years,” said Denmark head coach Bill Miller.

Last week Miller joined an elite group of coaches as the 13th to ever reach the 500-win total, with an 11-0 victory over Clintonville.

“Being surrounded by great coaches all these years, and more importantly the players, they’re the ones that earn it on the field. As I mentioned to these seniors, they’ve won over 75-80 of games themselves. They’re the ones that are racking up these wins,” said Miller.

One of those seniors was none other than his son Lucas, who took the ball as the starting picture for victory number 500.

“As we were talking about starting pitchers for today and the coming weeks, there was a little bit of me that was like ‘I want this game.’ Ethan, our other ace, he was kind of like, ‘yeah, you take this one.’ It means a lot for the whole team in general. Being able to be along for the 500th is a big deal for the players and my dad. Even if he may not seem like it. Working hard I think it means a lot to all the guys,” said Lucas Miller.

Another member of the Miller family that helped rack up plenty of those wins was Lucas’ older brother Brennen. Back in 2021, as a senior, Brennen Miller started the state championship game against Jefferson as the Vikings brought home gold for the first time.

“I think back to when I was a little kid, watching him coach when I was running around being the bat boy. Obviously getting to play for him and now coming back and watching him coach my brother. You kind of get to see different sides of the coach that you don’t get to see at other points. He’ll probably just say it’s another win, but 500 wins take a lot of great coaching over a lot of years with a lot of different guys,” said Brennen Miller.

The last game of the year is ultimately the one everyone is trying to win. Denmark successfully accomplished that feat each of the last two seasons, and once again have a team that could make another run as the top-ranked team in Division Two.

“They’ve had this target on their back. I think sometimes they even relish that. They know the other teams are gunning for them. I couldn’t be more proud of the way they handle themselves on the field,” said Bill Miller.

“Keeping that one game at a time mentality. It’s not necessarily a game four, five, or six days ahead of us. It’s the game that’s tomorrow. Not really overlooking the teams, but just going in there and trying to take care of business and get the job done,” said Lucas Miller.

The days of Lucas’ high school playing career are starting to get low in number with the playoffs less than two weeks away. Following the first state championship when his brother was a senior provides some valuable insight late in his senior year.

“After the first state championship, after the game on the ride home. Me and my brother talked and there was that moment where it’s like yeah he’s going to miss just being on the team. Not necessarily winning games or anything like that, just playing baseball with the guys you grew up playing with since the third grade,” said Lucas Miller.

“Enjoy every second you’re out there. You’re with your buddies playing baseball. There’s not much better, nothing tops doing that. You think about when you’re little kids, you go out and play whiffle ball, you go out and just screw around. You only get to do that so many times with your buddies,” said Brennen Miller.

The best advice, though, still comes from their skipper.

“You can’t get too high with the highs. You can’t be too low with the lows. If you go out there every pitch and just compete good things will happen. Do your job, trust your teammates, and everything kind of falls into place,” said Brennen Miller.