By Rory Sharrock
Throughout their careers in the Southern Crescent, former Eagle's Landing Christian Academy baseball star Harry Nutter and Stockbridge High School softball standout Katie Cash built a reputation on the diamond as highly-skill players with an abundance of talent.
So, it's no surprise that they are being praised for their performance at Reinhardt College in Waleska as both Nutter and Cash recently received postseason honors from the Southern States Athletic Conference (SSAC).
Nutter concluded his first year on campus by being named to the All-Freshman team while Cash capped off the year as Second-Team All-SSAC.
Along with robbing many an opposing player of a base hit at second base, third and shortstop, Nutter batted .286 with one home run and 27 RBIs. He also ranked second on the team in runs scored, crossing home plate 53 times in 50 games.
"I can't say enough about him (Nutter)," said Reinhardt College baseball head coach Bill Popp. "He played three positions and he excelled at all three. He led off about 90 percent of the games this season. He was a freshman that averaged more than one run scored a game and that's huge."
Nutter made the transition from Class A baseball to the competitive SSAC look like a walk in the park by showcasing his strong plate discipline and range in the field.
"It was a lot of hard work trying to prove to people what you can do," said Nutter. "You come in and try to make a name for yourself to show people you can do what you want to do. It's a big jump from high school to college ball speed wise and strength wise."
A state champ his junior year, during his senior season at ELCA, Nutter helped lead the Chargers to a 31-6 record and a Region 5-A championship. ELCA advanced to the Class A state finals, but lost in two games against Calvary Day.
"The competition of playing at a (region) 5-A school helped me out a lot. We traveled and played a lot of teams that are nationally ranked and it helped me get ready for the competition of college."
Nutter's classmate and fellow Southern Crescent neighbor Cash was just as impressive with the Reinhardt Lady Eagles softball squad.
Despite struggling at the plate and batting only .230, Cash more than made up for her offensive woes by digging out several ground balls that were destined for the outfield. Her eye-popping glove work ranked 20th in fielding percentage (.958) in the SSAC.
"Katie is one of those players you don't find very often. She's a great defensive second baseman. She doesn't do anything that's going to wow you, she just makes plays," said Reinhardt softball coach Glen Crawford. "We turned 28 double plays this year, which was two shy of a national record and she was a part of over half of them. She just knows where to be and how to make the play. I'm really going to miss her next year because of her presence."
While Nutter is in the infancy of his college career, Cash is a senior on the field despite being a junior in the classroom. Prior to attending Reinhardt, she was enrolled at Middle Georgia College in Cochran.
This spring was her last year of eligibility, so while she'll still be on campus next year, she'll be forced to watch from the stands, or the bench as a graduate assistant coach should she decide to pursue that role during the 2009 season.
"It's going to be hard not playing," she said. "I wouldn't mind being out there helping, but I know I'm going to miss playing."
Cash was a key member of the Stockbridge Lady Tigers softball team that advanced to the playoffs in three of her four seasons.
Henry County schools have always excelled in softball and her contributions are just another link in this long chain of excellence.
"Stockbridge had a good program. We went to state my sophomore, junior and senior year. With every year, we progressed and we had great players go to other colleges like Georgia and Florida State. So that helped me find a college to play at," she said.
This past season, the softball team finished 32-23 and 13-15 in conference play. Reinhardt beat Brewton-Parker 6-3 in the opening game of the conference tournament, but fell 3-2 to Lee University in the next round.
Reinhardt's baseball squad shared a similar fate as it ended the season at 29-28 and 10-17 in the league.
The Eagles went 1-2 in the tournament with their lone win coming in a 5-4 victory over Berry College. Reinhardt also lost to Lee University to close out the year.
Nutter is currently majoring in business management while Cash plans to graduate next spring with a degree in biology.