SOUTH BELOIT—A chance encounter with a baseball scout as a pre-teen led Miles Beckham to the middle of West Virginia to continue his career on the diamond.
Beckham, who graduated from South Beloit this spring after an outstanding three-sport career, will play for West Virginia Tech, an NAIA program located in Beckley, West Virginia.
Beckham, who also played football and basketball for the SoBos, said it was a chance connection that led him to West Virginia.
“My dad and I were at a Rockford Rivets game when I was 10 or 11 years old,” Beckham said. “And I was wearing a Yankees hat, and my dad was wearing a Red Sox hat. And this guy came up to my dad, just wondering how that worked in the household. So they laughed a little bit and the guy introduced himself as Tim Murray, a scout for the Red Sox. So I introduced myself to him and told him I was a baseball player. He gave me his business card and we’ve kept in touch since then.
“Anyway, Tim had a connection with West Virginia Tech. He was friends with the head coach there, and he told him about me. That got my foot in the door. I talked to the coach and eventually went on a visit and really liked everything about it. They gave me a really nice scholarship to come play, and I think it’s going to be a great place for me.”
Beckham was able to secure a scholarship despite never playing in a summer program.
“As a three-sport athlete, I always had so much going on in the summer that it was hard to just focus on baseball,” Beckham said. “There was summer basketball, lifting for football, and baseball, too. But I loved having the three-sport experience. I wouldn’t change it for anything. I never was bored. Every day, there was some kind of practice to go to. And that looks good on the resume, too. College coaches like multi-sport athletes.”
Beckham is looking forward to just focusing on baseball, where he pitched, played shortstop and outfield for the SoBos.
“My family has always told me ‘Imagine if you just focused on baseball, how much better you would be,’” Beckham said. “That really gets me excited to think about. I know the coaches see a lot of potential in me, and they just want me to play first base, which is my favorite spot to play.”
Beckham, who checks in at 6-foot-4, 250 pounds, had a great deal of personal success for the SoBos, finishing first in the state in slugging percentage and fourth in home runs. The standout performance didn’t lead to a lot of team success, but Beckham said there were positives along the way.
“It did get a little frustrating at times,” Beckham said. “At South Beloit, there’s just not a lot of passion or fire for the sport of baseball. But I tried my best to be the guy to spark that fire. It was really hard as a freshman, but by the time we got to my senior year, a lot of kids were excited about playing and trying their best.”
Now Beckham can apply that same energy to the Golden Bears, thanks to his own hard work, natural ability and a chance meeting with a baseball lifer.