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Web Gem
Former ELCA baseball star Harry Nutter honored as loving son, player and friend

By Rory Sharrock

rsharrock@news-daily.com

Harry Nutter, 19, of McDonough was a unique individual who loved animals as well as spending time with family and friends.

His talent and deep-rooted passion for baseball was just an added incentive.

These are the praises being showered down from people, both near and far, to celebrate the life of the former Eagle's Landing Christian Academy and Reinhardt College multi-position player, who died tragically on Friday, July 4 after suffering injuries from a motorcycle accident.

Despite his brief time on Earth, Nutter experienced a lifetime's worth of memories on the diamond with the championship hardware to confirm his elite status from playing as a bright-eyed youth league player, all the way up to the collegiate level.

During his pre-adolescent and early teen-age years, Nutter was an instrumental figure in leading his teams to multiple titles in youth baseball.

From 1999 to 2003, he tasted the thrill of victory, taking his talents across state lines and winning in various leagues.

As a nine-year-old, Nutter closed out the 20th century with the United States Sports Specialty Association (USSA) baseball crown in Dallas, Tx.

Following his team's triumph in Dallas, he and his players concluded their midwest tour by winning the Continental Amateur Baseball Association (CABA) World Series in Iowa.

In 2000, he wrapped up back-to-back CABA championships in Missouri.

During the summer of 2001, he participated in the American Amateur Baseball Congress (AABC) and experienced the same results, this time he lifted up his arms in victory amidst the scenic backdrop of Toa Baja, Puerto Rico.

The glory days continued in 2002 in the United States Amateur Baseball Federation (USABF) in St. Louis, Mo. and in 2003, where he returned back with (USSA) to capture glory in Orlando, Fla.

He concluded his youth baseball career by winning the 15-year-old World Wood Bat Association title in Marietta.

"Harry wanted to be the best he could be with the God-given talent he had," said his former youth baseball coach Earl Newalu. "My greatest moment of Harry was filling out the lineup card and putting down No. 1, Harry Nutter. He'd be on the field doing whatever it took to help his team win. He wasn't selfish about anything. He played any position I put him in and he played as hard as he could play. It didn't matter if we were up 10 runs or down by 10 runs, you would never know it by the way he played."

After so much success playing youth baseball, it was only natural for him to translate those winning intangibles to high school.

Following a brief stint at Jonesboro High, he transferred to ELCA, where he became a household name in the community.

Nutter's habit of clinching baseball championships was on full display during his junior year when he and his Charger teammates ran through the Georgia High School Association playoffs en route to winning the 2006 Class A state banner over Calvary Day.

During its magical ride in 2006, ELCA went 34-2 and 14-0 in conference play.

"I've known him since he was seven and he was very outgoing. He always had a good disposition about him. He was a great athlete. You don't see many guys like him," said former ELCA assistant now current head coach Doug Campbell. "As a baseball player, I never seen anyone smarter about the game. He studied the game and made adjustments better than anybody I've ever seen. He was very coachable and he was an asset. I don't know how many times he pulled games out with clutch hits or four-hit ballgames he had."

As a senior in 2007, the Chargers once again appeared in the state championship series, but fell in two games against rival Calvary Day.

However, it was his skill set and championship background that earned him a scholarship to play at Reinhardt College in Waleska.

Although he changed jerseys, his desire to be the best remained the same.

Nutter, who stepped in the batter's box as a lead-off hitter, ended his only season with the Eagles by batting .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.

These eye-popping stats placed his name on the Southern States Athletic Conference (SSAC) All-Freshman squad.

"He was such a fine young man and fine addition to our team," said Reinhardt College head baseball coach Bill Popp.

"I can't say enough about him. I loved being around him. He was a hard-nose tough kid. The things he brought to our program as a true freshman this past year was great. We were expecting a lot out of him over the next three years. We're truly going to miss him."

Despite achieving greatness on the diamond throughout his life, Nutter was humble and always seeking to raise his game to the next level.

"It was a lot of hard work trying to prove to people what you can do," said Nutter during an interview in April after being name to the All-Freshman Team.

"You come in and try to make a name for yourself to show people you can do what you want to do. 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 homegoing service took place Wednesday, July 9 at Eagle's Landing Baptist Church in McDonough.

The family has set up the Harry Nutter Scholarship Fund for students at ELCA.