Mills helps Hickman baseball team shutout Smith-Cotton

Wednesday, April 27, 2011 | 8:37 p.m. CDT; updated 11:15 p.m. CDT, Wednesday, April 27, 2011
Hickman junior Spencer Mills prepares for a pitch in the third inning of Wednesday's game against Smith-Cotton. An inning earlier, Mills did something St. Louis catcher Yadier Molina has made a habit of doing, he picked off a runner at first base.

COLUMBIA — Spencer Mills? More like Yadier Molina.

The Hickman junior catcher did his best impression of the St. Louis Cardinals Gold Glove catcher in the top of the second inning of the Hickman baseball team’s 5-0 win over Smith-Cotton on Wednesday at Hickman Field.

With a runner on first base and one out, the Tigers' Travis Tindell tried to lay down a sacrifice bunt. The pitch was low, though, and Tindell failed to make contact. Meanwhile, Ian Dotson had strayed a little too far off of first base.

Mills picked the ball out of the dirt and fired it to first baseman Pete Stansberry, who applied a quick tag for the out. Pitcher Jon Sanders struck out Tindell to end the inning.

“That was a great scoop and throw,” Sanders said. “It really settles a pitcher down when you get a catcher that can do that.”

In the bottom of the second inning, Mills drove in Hickman’s first run on a single.

Mills has been leading the way both offensively and defensively for the Kewpies this season. A quiet leader, Mills prefers to let his bat and glove do the talking.

After struggling at times during his sophomore season, Mills has stepped up his game so far this year.

“This year’s been a good year,” Chris Mills, Spencer’s mother, said. “It was one of those hit or miss things last year.”

Spencer Mills said he has responded well to the extra responsibility his coaches have given him.

“I’ve gotten the chance to step up, so now I can prove myself,” he said.

Mills admitts he’s “not the loudest guy in the bunch,” but Hickman coach Dan Devine said he will give advice to his teammates.

“When people need to do things differently, he lets them know in his own way,” Devine said.

Sanders said Mills is a pitcher’s best friend, and working with Mills helps him settle down on the mound.

“Spencer really knows how to call a great game,” he said. “We get along really well.”

Devine said the Kewpies will continue to rely heavily on Mills and follow his example.

“He’s playing at a very, very high level,” Devine said. “He’s very valuable.”

Mills will get a chance to continue his strong junior season on Saturday against Francis Howell in St. Charles.

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