Creswell to play in US all-star tourney
William Creswell will get an introduction to playing baseball on the next level in August when he suits up to represent the northeastern region in the United States Specialty Sports Association 14-under All-American Games in Viera, Florida.
Creswell is no different from any other teenage athlete — he wants to play his favorite sport at the next level, collegiately and perhaps, if he’s fortunate enough, to take his game to the professional level. The son of Billy and Jennifer Creswell, the 14-year-old rising sophomore at Rabun Gap Nacoochee School can get a taste of what the next level looks like.
The All-American Games are designed to allow top players in each of eight regions compete against each other on a national stage. Players are guaranteed to play in four games, where teams play in three pool bracket games and all teams advance into a single elimination bracket tournament. The 2018 All-American Games will take place at the USSSA Space Coast Complex Aug. 4 through Aug. 11. The games are part of the USSSA, a volunteer sports governing body, non-profit organization, formed in 1968 and originally based in Petersburg, Virginia. In 2017, the USSSA moved to its new headquarters, the Space Coast Stadium complex, which had previously housed the Washington Nationals baseball club. USSSA has more than four-million participants in 14 nationally-sanctioned sports, which include baseball, fast-pitch and slow-pitch softball, karate, basketball and soccer.
Creswell was selected as one of the top 25 baseball players in the northeast region following a January tryout in Atlanta. Jennifer Creswell said the selection was unexpected and an honor.
“It totally caught us off guard,” she said. “We went to the tryout not expecting to make the team, but we were contacted … that William had been selected to play for the northeast region team in the All-American tournament in August. It’s very exciting.”
Creswell’s name was called as part of the USSSA’s team selection show airing on its website on June 29.
“It’s pretty exciting,” William Creswell said. “You get to play against all other players from all over the country. It’ll be exciting to see how I stand up against other baseball players from around the country.”
Creswell was part of the scouting combine/tryout camp showcase in January. He said he went in with no expectations other than to get a chance to work out and receive some pointers and tips on improving his game.
“I had hurt my shoulder and wasn’t able to throw real hard,” he said, although he was clocked in the low 80s as a 13-year-old. “I wasn’t expecting anything.”
Tryout showcases were open to all players who wanted to participate, with invitations extended for the All-American Region Teams, which were selected once all showcases in each region were completed. Scouts and coaches were on hand to judge the more than 100 baseball players who attended the Atlanta tryout camp in various skill categories such as accuracy, speed and ability. Tryout camps were held in several cities around the country and the top 25 baseball players from each of the eight regions were selected to play in the summertime tournament.
While the Atlanta tryout was located in the Southern Region, Creswell was selected to the Northeast Region team because North Carolina was grouped with the northeastern region by USSSA organizers.
Like most teens, William likes his cell phone and video games, but he also likes being outdoors and getting dirty, according to his mom.
“To be selected as one of the players to play in the tournament out of all the baseball players to try out across the country was pretty amazing,” Jennifer Creswell said. “I’m glad William has a passion for baseball like this. He likes to get out and play.”
At 5’9”, the right-hander splits time between the mound and as short stop, but considers pitching to be his best position. He describes himself as a “decent enough” gap-hitter, spraying the ball to the alleys, hitting for average as opposed to swinging for power. He loves baseball, and according to his former coaches at Highlands School, he is good at what he loves.
“He’s very good in baseball,” said his former middle school basketball coach, Josh Smith. “And on top of that, he’s a super nice kid. He’s always volunteering at church or some other function; he’s always around and helping out.”
Creswell will trade Highlander blue for Rabun Gap green in the fall because Highlands School doesn’t field a baseball team.
His favorite subjects are math and science, and he enjoys participating in cross-country and track during the off-season. While just a rising sophomore and undecided about where to go to college, Creswell has his eye on Coastal Carolina, the 2016 Division I NCAA national champions in baseball, and perhaps suiting up for the Chanticleers once his high school career concludes.