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Hutchings guides Seahawks to silver
Little League success offers new chances for pitcher
06/14/2018 10:44 PM ET
Pitcher Nick Hutchings delivers on the mound.
Pitcher Nick Hutchings delivers on the mound. (Ryan Schembri/SMP Images/ABL Media)

At just 22, pitcher Nick Hutchings has leapt into coaching and guided his Adelaide Seahawks Little League team to silver at the Australian Little League Championship.

The tournament concluded earlier this week with the Seahawks putting on an impressive display after missing the tournament entirely in 2017.

As a result of finishing second they have also booked their place at the Cal Ripken World Series in August, at Branson, Missouri.

Hutchings says the hardest part of coaching was adapting to the Little League system and its unique rules, praising his support staff for their support along the way.

"The biggest challenge for me was knowing all the specific Little League rules," Hutchings said.

"This was the most important part of the tournament as there were a couple of incidents this year where they were breached and the consequences are big.

"The coaching staff I had, James Bushell, Troy Cook and Mark Paparella, was incredible. Their knowledge, experience, confidence, belief and composure got the best out of the boys and made it easier for me to lead the playing group."

Being in charge of a dozen kids aged 11 and 12 is always tricky, especially for a 22-year-old, yet Hutchings thrived at Lismore and has quickly earned the respect of his Seahawks.

"Being on the coaching side of a team in a tournament requires a lot more preparation, time and effort than playing," he explained.

"The 12 players we had in the team all had a common goal and that was to improve their baseball skills. It made coaching them very rewarding as they were always ready to listen and try new things to continue to get better.

"Three games in a row we had to come from behind to win in elimination games. I have never seen a team of kids be so determined and resilient before and that makes me very proud."

For Hutchings the experience was his first taste of Little League baseball at a major tournament level and he says the best part was seeing the positivity families bring with them.

"The buzzing atmosphere the parents created during the games and the supportive and friendly environment they made off the field is the exact culture every team wants," Hutchings said.

"I can't express enough how fortunate I have been to have their families be so amazing throughout this experience.

Hutchings' short term focus is now the Cal Ripken World Series in early August, before switching into pre-season mode for the 2018/19 ABL season. More coaching is certainly on his radar as well.

"[Cal Ripken] is a once in a lifetime opportunity," Hutchings said.

"I'd love to keep coaching Little League but I'm unsure whether it will be next year or later down the track as I still have ambitions to make the Australian Team in the near future."

This story was not subject to the approval of the Australian Baseball League or its clubs.