McNutt headed to China |

McNutt headed to China

Dave Price

Baseball has taken Ron and Terrie McNutt from coast to coast across the U.S. over the last 30-plus years. Now, the Carson High School coach and his wife are on their way to China to participate in the 12th Beijing International Friendship Series.

The tournament, which begins on Monday in Beijing, will showcase baseball teams from China, Japan, Korea, Taiwan, the Philippines and United States. McNutt is making the trip as one of the coaches for the U.S. 16-and-under age group squad. The team departed from San Francisco this morning.

“This is going to be my first trip to China and I just feel so honored they would even consider me for something like this,” said McNutt, whose record at Carson High since 1975 is 606-241 (.715). “I am real excited Bob Williams asked me to go. And I get to take Terri, who has been so supportive of me all these years.”

Of course, it will be a working vacation for both.

“Terri is one of the staff coordinators — she’s the player representative — and I’m sure she will be keeping some score, too,” Ron said.

McNutt will be coach the U.S. 16-and-under team along with Williams, who is known as the founder of the prestigious Area Code Games and is coordinating the U.S. team through Goodwill Series, Inc. Williams formerly played summer ball for McNutt’s Carson Capitols program.

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Though he knows little about the U.S. team, McNutt said most of the players are from the West.

“I was going to take a couple of our kids, but because of their birth dates, they didn’t qualify as 16-year-olds by international guidelines,” McNutt said.

Northern Nevada will be represented by Ryan Lammle, a catcher from Reed High School. Lammle played for the Sparks team that defeated Carson in the finals the recent Nevada State Babe Ruth 15-year-old tournament and went on to finish third at the Pacific Southwest Regional Tournament.

“I’ll be meeting a lot of the kids for the first time at the airport Friday morning,” McNutt said. “That’s the handicap we’re going to have. We have a bunch of fairly good athletes, but we haven’t seen each other before so we’ll get one practice together and then we’ll have to start playing games against teams that have been together for months.”

The Series will include opening and closing ceremonies at Beijing Stadium. Each team will be guaranteed five games, and at the end, the teams with the two best records will play for the championship.

The Beijing trip isn’t just about baseball, either. The U.S. team will have a chance to visit such sights as the Great Wall of China, the Temple of Heaven and the Beijing Zoo.

“There’s more than just the baseball side,” McNutt said. “What an opportunity it is to make a trip like this when they’re 16. These kids may never get back that way in their lives again.”

Don’t underestimate the amount of preparation required to make a trip like this, either.

“I guess I’d better learn how to speak some Chinese pretty quickly,” McNutt mused on Wednesday night.

Other than this series, the summer has been relatively quiet for McNutt. After all, this has been the first summer since the late 1970s in which he hasn’t had the Carson Capitols on the field.

McNutt laughed when asked if the summer program is coming back.

“I’m sure there are rumors about that, but no, I haven’t thought about it at all,” McNutt said. “Let me get through this summer first. This has been a good summer for us.”