Daniel Helm signs to play baseball at Milligan College
By Jonathan PleasantJCHS senior Daniel Helm has a lot going for him. With a 4.0 grade point average, an unparalleled role on the school’s baseball team, and a long running reputation as one of the Longhorns best hitters, it would be easy for some students to let their talent go to their head. Yet, possibly one of Helm’s best qualities is his humble nature and willingness to work with those around him.
With that in mind, it was no surprise that the senior first baseman would earn his way onto a college team, even allowing him to bide his time to see what opportunities might come along. Having looked into several schools, including bigger universities, Helm finally made his decision just a few weeks before graduation, choosing to remain closer at home while picking a local college known for their high standards.
“I’m really glad to be signing with Milligan,” Helm said. “I don’t think there could be a better school to choose. I’m ecstatic just to be going there. I had applied to Wake Forest and other schools just to see what was there, what they would offer, but Milligan seemed like the best bet. As far as school goes all around it just doesn’t get much better. I was just waiting it out and seeing what came my way, and Milligan was definitely the right choice.”
Helm is a key part of one of the most talented groups of senior athletes to come through Johnson County High School, and despite a tough season in baseball this year, both head Coach Pete Pavusek and Assistant Coach Nicholas Perkins expressed their confidence that Helm would be very successful with the Buffaloes. “He is a good student and going to Milligan is going to be a good fit for him,” Pavusek said. “He’s going to get through that in four years and then who knows. The sky is the limit for him. He is very intelligent, very smart, and very athletic. He’s going to be a success story.”
Perkins agreed, noting that Helm’s prowess on the field carried a reputation even before he joined the high school team. “Daniel has always been a good baseball player,” Perkins said. “I heard about him two or three years prior to him joining our program in 2010. I think the biggest thing is that he started to realize that he could use baseball to help him go to college, realizing the potential for a scholarship and realizing that it is a springboard for a college opportunity. I don’t care what our record was this year, some of the most talented players I’ve ever coached have been in this class. I expect them to be solid citizens in the community, and we’re excited for them. I think it speaks highly for our program that we do have so many going on to play in college.”
From the outset, Helm has been the team’s key first baseman, a position he expects to carry on at Milligan. “That’s the only position I would play honestly,” Helm said. “I mean, if they wanted to put me other places I would try, but that’s my specialty and that’s what I’ll be shooting for. Milligan’s coach has seen a lot of things that I did last year and he’s seen us play a few games. He’s definitely seen the talent we can possess if we play hard.”
Helm actually attributed his final decision to go with Milligan to Coach Perkins, who facilitated a meeting with the Buffalos’ coaching staff. “Coach Perkins actually took me down there,” Helm said. “It was a one-on-one with the coaches. I was able to talk with them and they showed me around. Coach Perkins really set that up. It wasn’t really anything with me per se. Of course, Pavusek and Perkins, the assistant coaches, even Little League, middle school, Coach Crews, everybody involved in this helped me out tremendously. My friends, family, of course God, have helped me through everything. I couldn’t ask for a better group of people. I’m going to miss them no doubt, but Milligan is like a stepping stool. You get one place and step up to another and you just keep going from there.”
As one of those talented seniors moving on, Helm will be in good company, joined by fellow Longhorn Ryan Mahala on the baseball team, among several athletes joining the Buffalos in various sports. “I love it,” exclaimed Helm. “Ryan and I, our friendship has grown and gotten a lot stronger, just because we are going to Milligan together. Judd Hammons is going to Alice Lloyd, Jon Vannoy is going to Alice Lloyd, Andy Woods also might be going, Ashley Arnold is going to Milligan, Jacob Henson is going to Milligan, so there will be some familiar faces. It’s a great opportunity for me.”
With Milligan actually playing Alice Lloyd in the season, the first baseman seemed excited to get the opportunity to eventually play against his fellow teammates. “That will be an experience,” Helm confirmed. “Going against friends, I can’t wait for that.”
A strong player with an even stronger academic background, Helm plans on becoming a physical therapist assistant. “Right now physical therapy is 6 to 8 years but PTA is about 4 so that’s right up my alley, Helm said. “I’ve got a 4.0 right now but I’ve got to keep the grades up. It’s school first and then sports.”
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