As a baseball coach, it's Ricky Beale's job to study players and assess their potential on the diamond.
When Beale was coaching the Evans Middle School squad, he quickly formed a first impression about Seth Newsome.
"A good fundamental ballplayer and a hard worker, even at that age," Beale said.
Now, years later, as head coach of the Evans High School baseball team, Beale's opinion of Newsome hasn't changed.
"He still does everything you ask of him, and he's a competitor. He doesn't like to lose," Beale said.
Photo by Jim Blaylock
Newsome is now a senior for the Knights. The pitcher/second baseman is one of the top prep performers in Columbia County, but when he first participated in organized ball at age 4, he didn't know he was going to be a baseball standout.
All he knew was to give his best effort. From there, everything fell into place.
"Ever since I was little, I've had a ball around, and I've always been throwing," Newsome said. "I've never really been the best player, so I always had to work. If you work hard enough, good things will happen for you."
Some great things have come Newsome's way. As an all-star in the Columbia County Recreation Department, he was a member of two Dixie World Series championship teams.
Last year at Evans, Newsome was selected to the all-region team as a pitcher, and he's picked up the pace as a senior this season. He leads the Knights pitching staff, is one of the team's best fielders, and is hitting above .300.
"Seth makes the plays and he does a real good job on the mound," Beale said. "His hitting has been a bonus."
Newsome didn't become a well-rounded player by accident. He plays baseball year-round, and he watches major-league games whenever he gets the chance.
"You have to watch guys that are better than you and see what they're doing," he explained. "That will help you out just as much as getting out and working in the batting cage."
Being a student of the game is beneficial, but Newsome has one quality that can't be taught.
"He has a very good mental makeup," Beale says. "He stays very level headed. A lot of guys at this age, if they struggle once or twice, they really get down on themselves. Seth's not like that."
For Newsome, the most important play, pitch or at-bat is the next one.
"If something bad happens, you have to go out there and bounce back," he says. "If you let a mistake bother you too much, it will end up costing you more down the line."
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