From the day Collins Cuthrell moved to Rocky Mount as a nine-year-old, he and Cameron Ramsey have been nearly inseparable.
They played midget league and high school baseball together.
They played American Legion ball and have been coached by Pat Smith and Hank Jones during their careers.
It only seemed natural that when both had a chance to serve as assistant coaches for Coleman-Pitt Post 58, they’d jump at the chance – and working with each other would just be “icing on the cake.”
The two have combined to inject a bit of energy and enthusiasm to Post 58, which has led to more of a relaxed atmosphere around practices. It has helped in the early standings as well.
As Coleman-Pitt prepares for tonight’s 7 p.m. game against Pitt County at American Legion Field, it does so with an undefeated record through the first three games of the season.
“We’ve only played three games, but the group of kids is a pretty tight-knit group,” said Jones, who added that he can be too serious as times. “I credit that a lot to Cameron and Collins. It’s by working with them every day ... and the things that they do with them.”
Cuthrell, who played the past four years as Barton College and with the Wilson Tobs, brings a player’s mentality to the field. The 22-year-old who won a state championship with Rocky Mount High in 2008 even has to settle his former high school teammate down at times. For the past three years, Ramsey has spent his summers coaching the junior legion team in Rocky Mount and brings a more organizational approach.
The two coach opposite bags – Cuthrell at third and Ramsey at first – but it’s their similar traits that have helped to spark the Post 58 lineup, which has scored 28 runs through the first three games of the season.
“Any time you take the field and you’re tense and you try too hard, that’s when mistakes happen,” said Ramsey, who played one year at Wake Tech before having Tommy John surgery. “You’re worried too much about what could happen instead of making a play and reacting to how the game is going. ... They don’t want to be out there if they can’t have fun.”
The pair also brings a fresher looker at baseball, one to which that the current roster can relate.
Cuthrell has seen plenty of different approaches at the plate in his short career – from power strokes to pure contact hitters. He has tried to bring a little of each to American Legion baseball.
“It helps to know different ways to hit,” said Cuthrell, who has had teammates from East Carolina to Central Michigan. “... I use all those guys as an example.”
Ultimately, the ability to connect with the team is what might be Cuthrell’s and Ramsey’s best quality.
“We’re all able to relate to each other,” Cuthrell said. “It seems to me that they’re relaxed on the field. ... That’s pretty much what it’s about. When you are relaxed and having a good time, you’re going to play well.”
Justin Hite can be reached at 407-9951 or firstname.lastname@example.org