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Batman and Robin: Milleville and Elam were the excellent 1-2-punch that Altamont needed late

Jun. 10—ALTAMONT — Batman and Robin.

That's how Altamont sophomore pitcher Kade Milleville describes senior Dillan Elam and himself.

"I'm sure Dillan knows when he goes out there, he's the No. 1, as he should, but I also think when I go out there, I can be the No. 1," Milleville said. "It's easier being Robin than it is Batman."

Both performed like Batman this season.

Milleville and Elam proved to be an excellent 1-2-punch en route to the Indians advancing to the state tournament for the first time in program history.

"It feels great to know that we got a No. 2 that's just as good as me on a good day but throws a little less hard," Elam joked. "A little watered down but still really good and can get us a dub."

Elam threw 61 1/3 innings this year. He allowed 31 hits, 13 runs — 10 earned — and 21 walks to 72 strikeouts. He finished with a 1.14 ERA and a 0.84 WHIP.

Hitters also couldn't figure him out.

Opposing batters hit a miniscule .144 against Elam this season.

"We knew going in that Dillan had all the right stuff to be the best pitcher in the area, as far as I'm concerned," head coach Alan Whitt said. "For him to come into the fall and pitch like a No. 1 and then, in the spring, continue that growth and learn how to pitch more. There were games in the postseason run where he didn't necessarily have his best stuff, but he learned how to control the game without having his best stuff.

"The big revolution in his head was, 'You don't have to strike everybody out.' We need you to be as efficient as possible because we want you to pitch all seven innings."

Elam became the No. 1 option in the rotation this year after Mason Robinson graduated.

"I was in the same situation as Kade last year," Elam said. "It was nice because I got to learn from Mason and seeing what he was doing; learn from him and get better myself, so I hope I did the same thing with Kade."

Ironically, Elam and Robinson will reunite as teammates in the fall. Elam signed his National Letter of Intent to Kaskaskia College to continue his baseball career.

Elam finished his senior year with a perfect 10-0 record.

He said how efficient he was went from game to game.

"It was always what was from game to game. Whatever was working, we were throwing," Elam said. "If my curveball was off one day, we'd throw the slider instead and vice versa. Me and Nathan (Stuemke), we always talked about that. So, I think that really helped."

In the postseason, his "stuff" always seemed to be on point.

Elam won the regional championship game, 1-0, against North Clay. He won the sectional title, 5-4, against South Central and the state semifinal, 3-2, over Gibson City-Melvin-Sibley.

Stuff was great in all of those starts.

As for Milleville, he pitched 62 2/3 innings this season. He allowed 60 hits, 43 runs — 17 earned — and 13 walks to 70 strikeouts. Milleville had a 1.89 ERA, a 1.16 WHIP and allowed a .235 batting average to the opposition.

The one difference between both starters was the amount of run support Milleville received versus Elam.

Milleville was gifted 11 runs against Bethany (Okaw Valley) in the sectional semifinals and seven in the super-sectional matchup against Elizabethtown (Hardin County).

"I really knew if I could contain their bats, our bats were gonna help me. That's what I tried to do," Milleville said.

Whitt discussed about how intelligent Milleville is when he toes the slab.

"Kade, you know he's got the intelligence to pitch," Whitt added. "He knows what he wants to do and for him to continue to grow and get stronger this last winter, even though he's counted on for the basketball team, and then to see him get stronger and just hit spots; kid pitched in some tough-luck games this year where we didn't play very good defense behind him."

Though most of the games that Milleville pitched weren't what Whitt wanted, from an overall playing performance, he was impressed with how he handled himself nonetheless.

There was no fear.

"If you're watching him pitch and you're an opponent, you're almost a little mad because he has that demeanor about him where he walks out there, doesn't take too much time, he just goes after you and whatever happens happens," Whitt said. "That is something special."

What was just as special was finding a way to pitch when you knew you or the team didn't have the best day.

Milleville did that. So did Elam.

Whitt mentioned Elam's senior leadership as an important trait to how he pitched around difficulties.

"Being the senior, being the leader, you knew going in we needed some leadership and Dillan's firey. If you're not doing what you're supposed to be doing, he's the first one in practice to point it out," Whitt said. "Sometimes, that doesn't come off the right way when you're a young kid and Dillan really learned this year how to put that together. Then, he went out on the mound and he learned how to throw strikes even though he maybe didn't have his best stuff."

Whitt also thanked senior catcher Nathan Stuemke for working well with the pitching staff around those good and bad days.

"Nate is the best catcher that I've ever coached since my son was here," Whitt said. "I know that I'm biased with my own son, but Nate has that ability. He's going to be a great pitching coach someday. That's how good he is with these pitchers as far as knowing what they need to do; knowing what to say when a big moment comes up. Every time I visit the mound, I basically walked out there just so Nate could tell me what was going on and then Nate, before I could get it out of my mouth, was telling the pitchers what to do.

"He's just that good at being a coach."

Elam added, "We started playing with each other, I think, when we were nine — probably earlier than that. We played all throughout grade school and through high school, you play with someone that long, you kind of get on the same wavelength and it's always nice to be on the same wavelength as your catcher."

Contact EDN Sports Editor Alex Wallner at 618-510-9231 or alex.wallner@effinghamdailynews.com.