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Prep baseball: MIles signs with High Point

By Mike London
mlondon@salisburypost.com
LANDIS ó Maverick Miles is looking forward to swinging a bat and throwing a baseball this weekend.
Routine things he’s always been good at, skills he’s taken for granted, are now more precious to the South Rowan senior.
He’s thankful he’s been cleared to resume all activities following open-heart surgery. Two months ago he was in the hospital, connected to a dozen tubes and wondering about the future.
“Now I’m feeling great, good as ever,” Miles said.
It didn’t require much physical exertion for Miles to hoist a pen and sign a National Letter of Intent with High Point on Thursday in South’s media center, but it was another important step in his comeback.
Impressed by High Point’s new coaching staff, Miles turned down programs with higher profiles and verbally committed to the Panthers shortly before his junior season began.
That was a busy time. A routine physical revealed Miles has lived with a hole in his heart since birth. The first diagnosis was the hole was quarter-sized, and it was hoped procedures less radical than surgery might correct the problem.
When the hole turned out to be considerably larger, Miles was scheduled for open-heart surgery Sept. 9.
“It was a rough couple of days, lots of pain, lots of medication and nights where I couldn’t sleep,” Miles said.
High Point head coach Craig Cozart probably didn’t sleep either. Miles is a key to his recruiting class, a player good enough to attract others to High Point.
“Maverick’s family was upfront about his heart situation from the start and kept us up to date,” Cozart said. “We’re excited Maverick is doing so well now. He is a tremendous human being, exactly what we want at High Point as far as his athletic ability and as someone with moral character.”
In the aftermath of the surgery, Miles has dropped 20 pounds. He carried 205 and was an imposing specimen while mashing baseballs last summer for South Rowan’s American Legion team.
He’ll regain the lost muscle. His appetite is in good shape ó punch, peanuts and cake disappeared rapidly around him Thursday ó and he’ll be back working out with his trainer soon.
Baseball players rarely receive full scholarships, but Miles will be close. His father, Jimmy, said High Point costs $33,000 a year.
He said Maverick will have $31,500 taken care of through his baseball scholarship and academic scholarships. Besides being able to turn around fastballs with a smooth, right-handed swing, Miles is a straight-A student.
A gifted athlete, he was a state champion in the pole vault as a sophomore. He’s rangy and always runs 6.7 or better in the 60.
South has needed him at shortstop or second base every season, but High Point coaches watched him play outfield in showcase games and envision him as a born center fielder.
“Maverick has always done what’s best for the team, and the guys have always respected him for that,” South coach Thad Chrismon said. “But at the same time we’ve had him working on some things that will help his future.”
Called up to the varsity as a freshman in 2007 after a one-game jayvee career, Miles has led the Raiders three straight seasons in RBIs and batting average.
The owner of 90 career hits and 65 RBIs, he is on track to break school records. He batted .477 as a junior and hit for the cycle opening day.
Chrismon sees Miles doing what Daniel Wagner did. Wagner, a former Raider, now plays professionally in the Chicago White Sox organization.
“Daniel played well at South, made the grades for college, busted his tail there, and now he’s getting paid to play,” Chrismon said. “If Maverick keeps working as hard at High Point as he has here, he could follow Daniel’s example.”
Cozart brought in a huge recruiting class at High Point this year. Miles will be one of a handful joining the program for the 2011 season.
Cozart’s dream isn’t just winning the Big South Conference. With players such as Miles, he believes he can make noise nationally.
The center fielder is a senior, and Cozart fully expects Miles to compete for that job as a freshman.
“High Point’s first games my freshman year will be against Tennessee,” Miles said with a healthy smile. “That’s a pretty big deal.”

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