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18th rounder
Ex-Dawg Justin Miller, Sun Belt’s top homer, RBI man, signs with Nationals in MLB Draft’s 18th round

Justin Miller, former two-time All-state shortstop at Bearden High School (Class of 2007) who led the Sun Belt Conference in home runs (20) and RBI (74) as an All-Conference honoree in 2010, has signed a professional contract with the Washington Nationals.

A first-time starter at second base for Middle Tennessee State University this season, Miller was chosen in the 18th-round during the Major League Baseball Draft Tuesday, June 8.

“It's a dream come true, I've been working for this all my life,” said Miller, who did not disclose terms of his minor league contract, just one day before heading to Burlington, Vt., to join the Vermont Lake Monsters, the Nationals' short-season Class A Minor League affiliate in the New York-Penn League.

“Once I got the phone call saying that I'd been selected in the draft, I was just extremely happy and excited,” added Miller, 2007 District 4-AAA Most Valuable Player.

“Then my phone started ringing like crazy from my family and friends just giving me their support and everything. It's just a dream come true. ... It's all happened so fast, it's crazy.”

Miller's first professional game is set for Friday, June 18.

“Sept. 5 is the last game, and we play pretty much every day,” he said.

About his expectations prior to Washington's pick, Miller said, “I was hoping to go before the 20th round. I was expecting to go right around [the 18th] round.”

Jack Tate, BHS head coach who was an assistant during Miller’s Bulldog years, said, “I think coach [Matt] Buckner and I both thought he could do that someday ... a tremendous hard worker ... always so dedicated to the game.

“I think Washington got a great player,” Tate added.


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