Run Of The Mills

Lewis-Clark State (Idaho) third baseman Beau Mills ended his Warriors career Thursday night with a bang–or three.

Mills slugged three home runs and drove in eight to lead Lewis-Clark State to a 9-2 victory against Spring Arbor (Mich.) in Lewiston, Idaho, giving the Warriors their 15th Avista-NAIA World Series championship.

The 6-foot-3, 220-pound junior, one of the top prospects in the nation, was named the tournament’s MVP after .444 in five games to go along with 10 RBIs. Earlier in the day, Mills was also named the NAIA player of the year.

It was immediately apparent that Thursday would be not much different from Lewis-Clark State’s 7-0 triumph against the Cougars on May 28. The Warriors jumped out to a quick 3-0 lead in the first inning when Mills belted a three-run bomb in his first at-bat. Then in the fourth, with two outs and a runner on first, Spring Arbor lefthander Colin O’Connell ran into more trouble when he hit Mark Thompson and gave up a Brent Wyatt single to load the bases for Mills. And Mills sent a 2-2 pitch over the center-field fence for a grand slam to give the Warriors a 7-0 lead.

The home run tied the NAIA single-season home run record of 37 set by Mike Maggers of Mary Hardin-Baylor (Texas) in 1992. Mills then broke the record with a solo shot in the sixth inning to end the year with 38 bombs while increasing the lead to 9-0.

A nine-run lead proved to be more than enough for Warriors righthander Mike Miller. The senior held Spring Arbor scoreless through seven innings before giving up two inconsequential runs in the eighth inning. Brian Parker pitched a scoreless ninth to close out the win.