Milde signs with Auburn

Rick Winters / Douglas County Sentinel Alexander shortstop Tali Milde (front row, center) signed up to play college softball at Auburn on Nov. 12. She is flanked in the front row by her father Chris and her mother Tina Milde. Pictured in the middle row, from left to right, are AHS principal Nathan Hand, AHS assistant softball coach Jaime Monroe, and Top Tier hitting instructor Lincoln Martin. Filling out the back row, from left to right, are Top Tier performance coach Albert Bryant, AHS head softball coach Zack Graham, and AHS athletic director Chris Small.

Tali Milde signed an NCAA Division-I scholarship offer on Nov. 12 to play softball for the Auburn Lady Tigers. Milde received several offers, both academic and athletic to play for other schools, but chose Auburn after falling in love with a school on a visit.

“It was not my first choice originally, but when I got on campus I fell in love with Auburn,” Milde said. “It is one of the bigger schools to offer.”

Milde also received interest from Harding, Georgia Gwinnett, Berry, Emory and Georgia Tech before signing a partial athletic scholarship with the Lady Tigers

Auburn is coached by Clint Myers. Myers, who led Arizona State to two NCAA Championships, was named Auburn softball's second head coach in program history in 2013. In eight years at the helm of the Sun Devil program, Myers took seven trips to the Women's College World Series.

Last season, his first with the Tigers, Myers led the team to a 42-19 record, tying for the second-most wins in one year in Auburn softball history. The team returned to the SEC Tournament after a one-year hiatus and the NCAA Tournament, reaching the Minneapolis Regional final against No. 14 Minnesota. Auburn took the Golden Gophers to a deciding final game with the winner advancing to an NCAA Super Regional, something Auburn had never done.

Under Myers, Auburn's offense skyrocketed to some of its highest totals in program history. The total number of runs scored (440), home runs hit (83) and RBI (411) were the highest in any season in Auburn's history. The team batting average (.305) was also the highest in the last nine years.

As important as offense was to his philosophy, Myers also put major emphasis on defense. The nation took notice as AU's fielding percentage of .979 tied for the best in the country in 2013 with Kansas. It was only one one-thousandth of a percent higher than Florida and Oklahoma in 2014 (.978). Auburn turned 38 double-plays that year, most in the SEC and second-most in the country.

Milde, who tore through the postseason with her bat, and has been a standout shortstop all four years at Alexander, fits right in with the way Myers works.

“She is very strong, quick, has a lot of range, and has the best arm I have ever coached,” said AHS coach Zack Graham. “The way she is swinging, they will be happy with her at Auburn.”

Milde says the coach wants her to come into her freshman season prepared and ready to play.

“They want me to be in shape and I have been training every day, working out, running, hitting, and practicing any day I don’t have a game,” Milde said. “When I come to campus they want me ready and to have the right tools.”

Milde had a solid career at Alexander. In her senior season she hit .389 with a .426 on-base percentage and a .621 slugging percentage. She hit four home runs and only struck out six times. Milde committed only seven errors in the field for a .910 percentage.

“This has been the most fun I have every had and I have made some good friends and memories,” Milde said. “I have learned a lot and have gotten so much better since I was a freshman.”

Milde added that playing for Graham was a great experience, with the atmosphere being laid back but also serious. Off the field she is a member of the National Honor Society and FBLA. She played travel ball for the Georgia Force and Atlanta Vipers. Milde is currently slated to major in Psychology, though she said that could change.

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