By Cameron Freeman
COVINGTON, Ga. – It’s easy to get lost in the heat of sports, and lose sight of what sports are all about: Fulfilling oneself with the enjoyment of the game.
This concept isn’t lost on William Cutshall, however – the coach who’s leading his undefeated Newton County Royal All-Stars 8u baseball team to the United States Specialty Sports Association (USSSA) World Series in Gulfport, Miss., beginning at the end of June.
“My first rule is when you get on the baseball field, baseball’s a game, and you’ve got to have fun,” said Cutshall.
Cutshall really stresses the point of enjoying what his players are doing, and doing it with a smile on their faces. In fact, he states that he ensures that his boys have a smile on their faces before he even pitches the ball to them.
Winning is always fun, but the environment that Cutshall has created challenges players to maintain a winning attitude in the face of adversity.
“Our last two games, the first two or three innings we were actually coming from behind,” said Cutshall when reflecting on the ways his team has matured throughout the season. “We didn’t let it get us down, and we came back and won those games.”
The mental fortitude that his team displays has really impressed Cutshall, and it’s something that he’s incredibly proud of. At such a young age, it’s so easy to treat failure as if it’s final, but for these boys to grasp the concept of going into next-play mode while still believing there is always a chance to win, is impressive, and that mentality has played a vital role in the team maintaining its unblemished record through all three tournaments played.
But while maintaining that winning attitude is important, make no mistake. Cutshall says you still have to play the game.
“A lot of baseball got us to this point,” he said.
Cutshall, who is in his first year of coaching, has put a major emphasis on getting his team to play a lot of games in their quest for a state championship, and now the upcoming USSSA World Series. The emphasis that he’s put on playing the game as much as possible has paid dividends in the way his team performs.
Cutshall, who was the only coach in the league to lead his team to an undefeated record, has received high praise from several coaches and other people who have witnessed his team grow into the young juggernaut squad it is.
Perhaps the most notable praise came from former Major League Baseball player, and Covington native, Luke Allen.
“It’s very rare to see an 8-year old team do the things that my team was doing,” Cutshall recalls Allen saying.
“That was a compliment coming from the highest level of a player about my team.”
And if you watch the team play, it seems to be a compliment well deserved.
The way the All-Stars outfielders back up infield throws, along with the constant movement of his defense on hit balls are some of the various little things that have made a big impact on the team’s success.
The execution, mental fortitude, and the ability to enjoy the game of baseball no matter what has propelled this team into consideration of one of the best 8u baseball teams in the world as evident by their World Series berth.
And if these past few tournaments are any indication of what this bunch will do in the World Series, we could potentially be talking about the best 8u baseball team in the world coming right out of Newton County.
“I feel like we can really do well at this World Series based on our past few tournaments,” stated Cutshall.