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Murray State's Shelbey Miller, a Goreville native, bats in a recent game. (Murray State Sports Information)

Shelbey Miller is already making a name for herself for the Murray State University softball team.

The former Goreville standout hit .305 during her freshman season for the Racers. She also led the team in hits, doubles and triples.

“I was pretty surprised that I hit over .300 because there was a point in the season where I was hitting about .240 or .250 and in a complete slump,” Miller said. “I had been striking out a lot at the time, which I hardly ever did in high school. Being a leadoff hitter you need to put the ball in play every time.”

Miller started all 51 games at third base, which she enjoys more than short stop, which she played in high school. The Racers finished 14-10 in the OVC and 25-28 overall.

After producing solid numbers on the field, Miller was named to the Ohio Valley Conference All-Newcomer team for her efforts.

“I’m thankful for that, and I really didn’t expect it,” Miller said. “I know in some of the big conference games I could barely do anything, so that kind of shocked me a little bit. But I am thankful for it, and it’s something I’m going to feed off of for next year.”

A couple of local players and former high school opponents of Miller are now her teammates at MSU. Mo Ramsey (Pinckneyville) and Leslie Bridges (Murphysboro) wrapped up their sophomore and junior years, respectively.

“Those two are part of like my best friends that I’m always around,” Miller said. “It’s cool playing with them, and it’s funny because I never really knew them in high school. I played against them and knew who they were, though. We hang out now and go to church together. It’s been fun.”

There really is no offseason for Miller, who also plays summer ball. She hopes to improve upon a solid first year for the Racers.

“You play and practice and lift during the summer,” Miller said. “I think the summer time is where you build yourself into a better player because it’s you pushing you, and no one else is pushing you.”

Miller and her Goreville teammates won the Class 1A state title in 2012. It was definitely a different feeling for Miller having to watch from the stands this year. The Blackcats still finished third in the state.

“It was upsetting having to watch because I didn’t get to play ball with them anymore,” Miller said. “I’m very proud of them for getting third. But there were times I just wanted to go in the dugout and get them pumped up. I really missed playing softball with those girls.”

Taylor Odom, who just finished her senior year at Goreville, will join Miller on the MSU softball team next season.



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