DARKE COUNTY – A pair of athletes whose tremendous seasons took them all the way to the Ohio High School Athletic Association state championships are The Daily Advocate’s spring sports athletes of the year.
The Daily Advocate’s spring sports athletes of the year are Bradford softball player Skipp Miller and Versailles boys track and field athlete Joe Spitzer.
Spitzer won the state championship in the Division II boys 3,200 meter run at the OHSAA state track and field meet. His time of 9:14.97 was more than seven seconds faster than anyone in the Division II race.
Spitzer also qualified for state in the 1,600 meter run but scratched in that race to better his chances in the 3,200.
The Versailles senior was the fastest Darke County runner in the 1,600 meters (4:27.66) and 3,200 meters (9:14.97) this year. He was the second fastest in the 800 meters (2:00.88).
This summer Spitzer, a future Liberty University runner, also won the 2 mile race at the Emerging Elite Division at New Balance Nationals Outdoor with his time of 9:24.06. He finished fourth in the 3,200 meters at the Midwest Meet of Champions.
As Bradford’s ace pitcher, Miller helped lead the Lady Railroaders to the final four of the OHSAA tournament for the first time.
“Amazing season,” Bradford softball coach Shon Schaffer said. “Set a bunch of records, not only pitching but set the single season doubles record, too. She’s a good, young ball player. Only getting better.”
As a pitcher, Miller led Darke County softball players with a 0.77 ERA. With her pitching, Bradford was competitive in every game it played.
“We are going to be in every single game regardless of the talent level of the team that we are playing,” Schaffer said.
Miller also excelled at the plate with a .549 batting average and 32 RBIs.
“For Skipp to come in and put .500, that’s amazing in itself,” Schaffer said. “I can only assume when she’s a senior she’s going to be putting up some gaudy numbers.”
Miller, who is verbally committed to Ohio University, exceeded every expectation this year.
“I knew her coming in, playing the high level of travel ball that she plays, that she would come in and have an immediate impact,” Schaffer said of Miller. “I didn’t know if she’s have the composure to put on the orange uniform to play with seniors and against seniors and contribute at that high level. She’s been a sweet surprise.”
Miller earned first team all-state honors from the Ohio High School Fastpitch Softball Coaches Association. She also provided great leadership throughout the season.
“She’s a great kid, 4.0 student and every coach in every sport that she plays has nothing but positive things to say,” Schaffer said. “She’s a top-notch student-athlete. Not just softball player. She’s a great kid all-around.”
Kyle Shaner may be reached at 937-569-4312. Follow me on Twitter @KShanerAdvocate or get updates on Facebook by searching Darke County Sports or Advocate 360. For more features online go to dailyadvocate.com.