All Jaxson Miner ever wanted was to play college baseball.
On Friday night, the Tooele High senior made it official. With family members, coaches and other well-wishers gathered in the THS library, Miner signed a national Letter-of-Intent to continue his baseball career next school year at Olympic College, a junior college located in Bremerton, Washington.
“It’s crazy,” said Miner, who will be the Rangers’ starting shortstop as a freshman in 2020. “I’ve been dreaming about this my whole life, and to see it come true is crazy. I love it. It’s so exciting.
“I was talking to a lot of schools, and (Olympic) seemed to really want me. My family’s been so supportive, even though it’s a 15-hour drive. Principal (Jeff) Hamm and the administration have all been very supportive.”
Miner enters his senior season at Tooele High this spring after a highly successful junior year. He helped lead the Buffaloes back to the postseason for the first time since 2009, hitting .303 with seven doubles, three home runs and 15 RBIs while playing in all 26 games for THS — one of only two players to play in every game last season along with Payton Shields, who will be joining him at Olympic College. Miner’s work ethic is a major reason why he put up those numbers last season, and a major reason why he’ll be playing college ball, Buffs coach Nolan Stouder said.
“He deserves every part of it,” Stouder said. “Jackie works his tail off. He’s the first one at practice and the last one to leave. He’s always there helping us if it’s not working on the field, getting better, he’s there. He’s that kind of kid where you love to see stuff like this happen. When you see stuff like this happen, it’s more exciting than coaching the games.”
Miner credited Stouder, who was a pitcher on the University of Utah’s 2016 Pac-12 championship team, for helping him achieve his goal of playing at the next level. He’s also motivated to help the Buffs build on their success from last year and take the next step.
“He’s pushed me along so much,” Miner said of Stouder. “He’s pushed me to my limits, and I thank him for that because I wouldn’t be here without him. I’m so excited for my senior season, but also sad that it’s my last (at THS). It’s even more exciting knowing that I’ll be able to keep pursuing baseball.”
Stouder said players like Miner can serve as an example for the younger players coming up through the pipeline into the THS program.
“It’s going to be sad losing him, but at least we have him for this upcoming year,” Stouder said. “They’re getting a great kid, great athlete, great student — they made the best choice. Hopefully those younger kids — sophomores, freshmen, eighth-graders, whatever they may be — they see that if they work hard like Jackie does, they can achieve this too, as long as you put in the work and just do it in the right way like Jaxson did.”