SportStars Magazine

SportStars 2017 ‘V’ Athlete of the Year Award: Miles Ahead

Sheldon Softball’s Taliyah Miles Controls The Circle, Anchors The Offense And Leads Storied Program By Example •

 EDITOR’S NOTE: The “V” Award is part of the SportStars All-City Team Awards presented in partnership with the Sacramento River Cats. It is presented to the top female athlete of the school year. 

Ballplayers faced with a demotion can either resist and deny the need for change, or accept the challenge and work to become a better player and teammate.

Taliyah Miles played on the Sheldon High varsity softball team as a freshman, but only saw the field sparingly and was asked by head coach Mary Jo Truesdale to move down to the JV team as a sophomore to pitch every game with the goal of becoming the team’s ace as a junior.

Miles was called back up to the varsity for the 2015 Sac-Joaquin Section Division I playoffs and delivered a pinch-hit solo home run in the championship game that the Huskies won. She followed that up by leading Sheldon’s title repeat from inside the circle.

“She handled it with honor and class, and did it for the program,” said Truesdale, the only coach in the Elk Grove school’s 20 years of existence. “She came back in her junior year and really blossomed as a pitcher.”

Miles (17) is congratulated by teammates after her pinch-hit home run in the 2015 SJS Div. I softball final. (James K. Leash)

This season, the senior pitcher picked up where she and the Huskies left off, handling the majority of the pitching workload and adding a potent bat to lead the team to a Delta League championship and the No. 1 seed in the SJS Div. I playoff field. Miles posted a 17-1 record and 1.51 ERA in the 2017 regular season, and batted .412 with 4 home runs and 20 RBI to emerge as the area’s top double threat for one of Northern California’s highest-ranked teams.

Her performance on the field helped her win the The Vicki Kockinis McDermott Memorial Award, or “V Award,” given to the top female athlete — but the award recognizes more than just athletic achievement. Like the former Elk Grove High School and Sacramento State softball and basketball star, Miles does more than just play well. The Huskies’ ace is a great teammate, as well as a coach and volunteer for the Elk Grove Girls Softball program. She umpires, coaches and works in the snack bar to support the youth program she once enjoyed as a player.

“She’s involved in the community and gives back to the game,” Truesdale said. “She’s the total package.”

In two years as a varsity starter, Miles has compiled a 40-3 record and 1.66 ERA while allowing just 198 hits and striking out 284 batters in just under 270 innings.

More than that, she has the opportunity to help Sheldon win a third consecutive Div. I section title and the eighth softball section championship in the program’s brief history — an opportunity that might have been missed if Miles had not embraced the challenge to become a better pitcher and player as a sophomore.

— Jim McCue

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