Zack Miles was destined for big things at North Penn. He accomplished the rare feat of starting every game as a freshman in 2016 and hit at the top of the batting order.
He took things to the next level this season as a sophomore. Miles hit .468 from the No. 3 spot and led the Knights in most offensive categories.
The shortstop totaled 36 hits — 23 singles, 10 doubles, two triples and a home run in 23 games. He scored 20 runs, knocked in 17 and walked 11 times compared to just two strikeouts. He was 5-for-5 stealing bases.
Defensively, he posted a .916 fielding percentage.
Due to his phenomenal season that resulted in a Suburban One League Continental Conference title, second place finish in District 1 Class 6A and a PIAA playoff berth for the Knights, Miles is The Reporter and The Times Herald Player of the Year.
“This year compared to last year I was just trying to hit more mistake pitches, like fastballs up in the zone,” Miles said of his offensive success. “Last year I feel like I would just swing at anything, even without two strikes. I think my approach was a lot better this year by just finding a mistake pitch. It’s still high school baseball — there’s going to be mistakes being thrown, just need to find the pitch to hit.”
“He never quite turned the corner (as a freshman),” North Penn head coach Kevin Manero said, “but this year from the very beginning of the year he was our go-to guy, three-hitter, solid guy in the lineup every game. He did everything that we would love to see out of our three-hitter and shortstop all year long.”
Miles offseason didn’t exactly go as planned. He had whooping cough in November and missed an entire month of workouts. After that was out of his body, he responded by working harder and pushing his body to its limit to make up for lost time.
He missed one game during the regular season with a rib issue — a 6-1 loss to Central Bucks East — and his absence was felt.
“It was a game where we had been scoring a lot of runs at that point,” Manero said. “Without him in the lineup, there was definitely a difference. Without his ability to drive those guys in in the middle part of the order. His impact was definitely felt when he was in there and in the times that he wasn’t.”
Miles returned to the lineup with what he said was his best game of the season. He went 3-for-4 with five RBIs and two runs scored in a 9-5 win over Central Bucks West. He broke a five-all tie with a two-run homer to spark the Knights to victory.
Miles played for the SOL American/Continental Carpenter Cup team this year. He went 2-for-4 with four RBIs in the team’s opening round win over the Philadelphia Catholic League.
This promises to be an important summer for the rising junior’s future. He hasn’t been in contact with any colleges yet, but Manero said that Penn State has shown interest. He is sure to grab the attention of more Division I schools after the sophomore campaign he put together.
“This is a big summer for him going into next year,” Manero said. “After he had such a good high school season this year I think his name is pretty well out there. I think over the course of the next several months he’s going to get some good attention from those guys. As long as he keeps his eyes on the prize and knows that every day is about getting better no matter if people are looking at you or not, he’s going to continue to impress people over the next couple years.”
Miles will be playing for the Philly Bandits this summer and wants to work on his offensive power for next year.
The Knights return seven starters in 2018 and will look to improve upon their 20-5 season.
“We’re so excited,” Miles said. “We can’t wait to get back on he field. Losing first game in the state playoffs is a reality check and it will be helpful to bounce back next year with everybody that we have.”