Sports

In constant motion

Maybe it’s the daily regimen instilled in her by her father, a former member of the Air Force. Or maybe it’s her mother’s Texas blood that flows through her veins.

Whatever the reason, Brittany Miller never stops — and with her high-school graduation just days away, she’s just getting started.

“Honestly, if I didn’t have that much stuff going on, I wouldn’t know what to do with myself,” Miller said. “I have to be busy. If I’m not busy from the time I wake up in the morning ’til I go to bed at night, I’d drive myself crazy.”

From fastpitch softball to athletic medicine to volunteer work and everything in between, Miller is in constant motion. And it’s for that reason, along with the almost unbelievable numbers she put up as the No. 1 pitcher for the Wolves’ fastpitch team this year, Miller has been chosen as the Port Orchard Independent’s South Kitsap Female Athlete of the Year.

Miller, a senior headed to Linfield College in Oregon, beat out some stiff competition this year, including Stephanie Davison, who won her second straight state title in tennis; Madison Rousell, who claimed her first state title in swimming; Amanda Galla, a dominating pitcher in her own right; Nicole Bussman, the leading scorer on the Wolves’ soccer team; and, Stephanie Mott, the defensive wizard on South’s fastpitch team.

Miller ended her career at South in impressive fashion, posting a 12-1 record with a earned run average of 0.26. In 82 innings, she allowed just 48 base hits and struck out 119 batters while walking just 12.

At the plate, she hit .333 and drove in eight runs while laying down eight sacrifice bunts.

Not a bad year in any respect.

“I think that this is the best year I’ve had here at South,” Miller said. “We didn’t necessarily go the farthest — my sophomore year we did make it to state — but the chemistry and the amount of fun we had on the team were by far better than my sophomore year.

“I think it was really nice to go out with,” Miller said. “Even though it was really disappointing at districts, to have a 19-0 season and enjoying it to that point and to have made the connections that I did and build some others off that team was better than winning a state title, and our accomplishments will really stay with me.”

No one could have expected Miller to dominate the way she did, not even her.

“Probably not,” Miller said. “It was one of things that when I was out there on the mound, it felt really good. It felt like it was supposed to.”

Miller said the only thing she could compare that feeling to was her last year of playing 16U select ball, when her team fell into the loser’s bracket of a tournament in Las Vegas and was forced to play seven games in a row in 120-degree temperatures — a day that started at 7:30 a.m. and didn’t end until 10:30 p.m.

“If you weren’t playing, you were sitting in an air-conditioned car,” Miller said. “I ended up having to pitch in all seven games, and I really came into my own. It was that next level that I stepped up into and it really felt like this year.

“It’s really nice to know that I have that in me, because I’m going to college next year,” Miller said, “and it’s a whole other intensity level. And to be ready to play there, it’s nice to have that reassurance again.”

Miller can now focus on a very bright future that will begin in fall at Linfield. She signed earlier in the season and is receiving what amounts to a full ride to the Division III school located in McMinnville, Or.

“I was really looking for a small school and one that offered majors that I wanted,” Miller said. “I didn’t want to play Division I because it becomes your life there and my goal for college is academics. My career is not going to be softball — it’s going to be whatever I decide to do.”

Which, for now, is working on a double major in psychology and sports medicine. Miller has been in South’s athletic medicine program for three years and placed second at the last state tournament, just one point out of first.

“But recently, I’ve been looking toward the psychology more than anything,” Miller said. “Once I get there, and seeing the facilities and stuff and seeing how I feel about it, I might end up changing to forensic psychology and getting my masters.”

All of this comes as no surprise to her parents, who raised Miller and her brother to pursue their interests at a feverish pace.

“I couldn’t be more proud of her,” her father Jim said. “And I tell her that every day.”

Miller will finish out the summer playing club fastpitch but said she is ready to get her college career under way.

“But to have the opportunity to continue playing softball is great — it’s something I love to do,” Miller said. “It’s a passion of mine, but my education is a lot more important to me.”

Part of that education includes volunteering at Tacoma General Hospital on Saturday nights, something she has done over for several years.

“I was never one to be into the big Saturday night parties,” Miller said. “It just gave me something else to do. And it gave me an opportunity to look into my career a little bit more.”

Although the season ended a bit short of the state tournament, Miller said she will take plenty with her as she moves on.

“The memories and the friendships and all that stuff,” Miller said. “The stuff that happened on the softball fields — you are with those girls every day for two months.

“Athletic medicine is another family to me,” Miller said. “I have 15 sisters and three brothers and two additional parents (the makeup of the advanced athletic medicine class) that are just practically amazing. You don’t look at them anymore as teachers or classmates; they’re family, and it’s really nice to be able to say that about them.”

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