April 19, 2007

Freshman Milo Stars on Hoy Field and Lynah

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After the men’s hockey team was eliminated from the ECAC playoffs on March 10, it was finally time for the Red to hang up its skates for the season.
For freshman Justin Milo, however, it was also time to pick up his cleats and join the baseball team, which had already played six games by that date.
Milo, who played in 24 games for the Red in his freshman season and registered one goal and three assists, is also a key bat in the middle of the lineup for the baseball team.
“He’s been a pleasant surprise,” said assistant head coach Scott Marsh. “He didn’t get a lot of swings with us in the fall or over the winter so we weren’t really sure what to expect or if he’d get any playing time. But, he has come out and has been swinging the bat well, and he’s become, in a very short time, a critical component of our offence.”
Milo, who joined the team midway into the season, has been hitting .440 through his first nine games with 5 RBI.
“I came out to the team not expecting much, not demanding anything and I just practiced hard and waited and in my first couple of at bats, I came through and I guess I haven’t looked back from there,” Milo said. “Coach has eased me into the lineup, and I just make the most of my opportunities and try to help the team.”
The Eden Prairie, Minn., native was recruited to play hockey at Cornell, but informed the baseball coaching staff that he was also a baseball player. In high school, Milo found success in both baseball and hockey, and so far he has done the same at Cornell.
“Justin has done a great job so far, and has made a big contribution at the plate,” said junior centerfielder Brian Kaufman. “He’s provided a big bat in our lineup.”
At this point in the baseball season, Milo has seen time as the designated hitter, and has shown the ability to hit for contact and power.
“He is a kid that steps up and is ready to swing the bat,” Marsh said. “He has very good gap-to-gap power, and I think that as he matures over the next couple of years that could translate into home run power. Right now he does a very good job of driving the ball from right to left center. He makes good, consistent hard contact which is something we’d like to see from all our players, but he’s probably doing it the best of anyone on the team.”
Over the next few weeks, however, the Red coaching staff intends on using Milo as a position player as well, primarily at first base, which will give Cornell more flexibility in its lineup.
As a child growing up, Milo played both sports and credits his father and the culture of Minnesota for getting him involved with hockey.
“Growing up in Minnesota, hockey is the number one sport and my dad played growing up so I got into it as a really young kid with him,” Milo said. “The town I grew up in was a big sports town, and everyone played all different kinds of sports like soccer, baseball and basketball and I got into baseball at the same time, and luckily the seasons didn’t overlap and I was able to play.”
Playing both sports at such a high level certainly has its advantages.
Coach Marsh believes that strong and quick hands and wrists are a common attribute needed for success in both sports, and that Milo’s bat speed is likely aided by his hockey play. Milo, for his part, sees a strong connection in the hand-eye coordination aspects of both sports. Either way, whether its in Lynah Rink or on Hoy Field, Milo is just happy to be doing what he enjoys.
“I love them both and when I’m in hockey season, its hockey time and when I’m in baseball season, its time for baseball,” Milo said. “I try to enjoy both the same, that’s how I look at it.”