Junction City’s Nick Heath gets first start with Royals

Published: Aug. 6, 2020 at 10:58 PM CDT
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KANSAS CITY, Mo. (WIBW) - Nick Heath’s mom awoke to a call weeks ago: her son would get his shot in the big leagues.

“He got on the phone, he said, ‘Mom?’ and I went, ‘What’s wrong?’” Kimberly Kilpatrick Milleson said. “He goes, ‘I just got the call. They called me up.’ and I went, ‘what?’”

Weeks later she got another call. The Junction City-native would be starting for the Kansas City Royals.

“When I got the word earlier today I just kinda had, like I wanted to get sick, but it’s like a good get sick,” Kimberly said. “We are just super excited, and this has been a long time coming for him.”

Kimberly says she always knew her son had talent, which he paired with passion and hard work over the years.

“You can only train speed so much,” she said. “He just has that gift.”

It’s safe to say Heath got that gift from his mom. Kimberly ran track at Kansas State, and even in the 1988 Olympic trials.

“If you ever talk to him, the question always is, Nick, can your mom beat you in running?” she laughed. “And he better say yes.”

“My mom deserves way more credit than I could ever give her verbally for everything she’s ever done for me,” Heath said after the Royals’ 13-2 win over the Chicago Cubs.

COVID kept Heath’s family from watching his first start in person.

“We struggle with it but we understand,” Kimberly said. “If I can’t see him in person then I guess we got the next best thing being able to see it on TV because we were going to find a way, one way or another.”

But that didn’t stop a pep talk before the big game.

“I said I’m not going to hold you up because I know your brain is going a thousand miles a minute, I just want to let you know that we are extremely proud of you, you have lived every day for this moment, and I’m not gonna get all mommy on you, I just want to let you know we are proud, we love you, and we’ll be watching,” Kimberly said.

“As for my mom and my parents and my family, the sacrifices the made, the time the gave up just for me to continue to play, and so many different things,” Heath said. “I know calling her later on is gonna be kind of an emotional moment, it will kind of hit me. All the hard work we put in, all the blood, sweat and tears, that’s real.”

Heath got his first hit in the win over the Cubs. He said Thursday he’ll send the baseball home to his mom.

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