The ninth-ranked high school baseball team in Alabama wasn’t done winning when they lifted their state championship trophy.

After a 46-4 season that culminated in its ninth state title since 2000, Glenwood seniors Jaxon Milam and Jacob Page set themselves apart from even the top competition. Milam, the Gators’ shortstop, was named AISA Player of the Year and Hitter of the Year, while Page was named Pitcher of the Year.

“It starts in the offseason with them — they never miss — that’s the bottom line,” said head coach Tim Fanning. “That kind of consistency is what it takes in baseball — the greatest players are the most consistent. They never wavered the whole time they were in the program. They committed to working hard.”

The South Alabama Jaguars, whom Milam has committed to as he continues his playing and academic career, are getting a boomstick in their next season. As if 10 homers in his junior year didn’t prove what he could do with the bat, he went on to break Glenwood’s program home run record with 19 this season. He put together an impressive .394 average with a .518 on-base percentage and only 12 strikeouts while walking 29 times.

As head coach Tim Fanning noted, his game doesn’t end with his power. Milam swiped 22 bags in 2023 and led the Gators with five triples.

“He has unlimited power and great speed to go along with that,” Fanning said. “He can do more than just hit home runs, he’s a constant threat on the base paths. He’s a constant threat for extra-base hits. He had 10 home runs his junior year but like 17 doubles and nine triples, so he’s always a threat for that extra base.”

With the help of his coaching staff and his older brother, Hunter, who was drafted by the Phillies’ organization in 2019, a change in mindset helped Milam turn on the jets toward the end of his senior year.

It’s just playing ball, according to Milam. When he embraced his role in putting the team first, the results started pouring in. The awards are just reinforcements that the change in mindset is taking him in the right direction.

“Just not trying to force things, really [is what made it such a successful season],” Milam said. “I was just trying to hit line drives and go the other way — just help the team out as much as I could and get on base and the rest just took care of itself … This award means all the hard work paid off and everything the coaches stressed to me worked.”

Joining Milam as a First-Team All-State selection by the ASWA, Page won pitcher of the year while putting the team on his back from the mound. He went 12-0 in a team-leading 72 innings pitched, good for a 1.65 ERA. He struck out 84 hitters while only walking 14 and held opposing batters to a .181 ERA.

A lifer at Glenwood, dominance came to be expected from Page. He finished his last two seasons 21-1 and threw three complete-game victories in the playoffs this season, including a shutout in game one of the state championship versus Macon-East Academy.

“You gave him the ball and he’d give it back to you after the game was over,” Fanning said matter-of-factly. “He’s very rarely not going to pitch seven innings. Even if he didn’t have his best stuff, he was going to keep us in the game — he’s just very tough on the mound. For two of our best arms to not throw all season, having him as a constant was key for us.”

Also hitting .435 and leading all starters with a .611 OBP, Page is going to Central Alabama Community College able to contribute from both sides of the plate. He will join former Gators Jake Smith, his former catcher, and Ty Smith in Alexander City.

“The coaching staff has really helped me jump to the next level and develop into a great pitcher,” Page said. “I’ve got to thank my teammates, of course, that’s probably the best defense I’ve ever had play behind me. My catcher too, Pierce Edwards, did an awesome job and I want to give them credit.”

Page and Milam join Lane Griggs and Tyler Sykes as First-Team All-State selections, while sophomore Mason McCraine was a Second-Team selection and senior Wyatt Tharpe was listed as an honorable mention.

Coming off a tough state championship loss last year, Glenwood came together as a team this year, and many individual accolades were the result of a selfless team culture as the team ended its six-year championship drought. 

 “I don’t think anybody on this team was in it for themselves,” Milam said. “We did it for coach Fanning this year, and it wasn’t about ‘me,’ and everybody came together and realized that.”