New Castle News

August 24, 2012

Local boy honored by his hero, Andrew McCutchen

David Burcham
New Castle News

NEW CASTLE — It was a moment that 12-year-old Markus Williams will never forget.

The New Wilmington Little Leaguer not only met his sports hero, but was singled out by him.

Markus , who moved to Lawrence County from Mount Lebanon a year ago, returned to his old neighborhood Aug. 10 to attend the Andrew McCutchen Baseball Camp at Upper St. Clair.

When it was over, there was Markus standing in front of 299 other campers, holding the outstanding player award as presented to him by the Pirate star center fielder. McCutchen, one of the favorites to win the National League MVP, selected Markus after watching his performance during the competition.

Markus , who played shortstop during the camp game, made a lunging, backhand catch that caught the eye of McCutchen. Later he doubled in a run.

“Defense wins championships,” McCutchen told the crowd as he presented the large trophy to Williams and congratulated him.

Williams, who will be a sixth grader at Wilmington Middle School this month, was stunned to hear his name called. “I wasn’t paying attention,” he admitted.

Williams said didn’t sleep well the night before the camp, tossing and turning in anticipation of getting advice and instruction from McCutchen. But it isn’t the player’s considerable talents with a bat or his stalwart defense that Markus likes best about his hero. “It’s the dreadlocks,” he said.

Williams played in the Wilmington Little League. His team was runner-up in tournament of champions. He also played on the all-star team and with an AAU team called 3H Explosion. He likes playing shortstop because “the ball always gets hit to you.”

Markus is a son of Damian and Annie Williams of New Wilmington. He and his family still attend Pirate games regularly, but what used to be a 15-minute trip from Mount Lebanon is now a two-hour round trip from New Wilmington.

And what is it that Williams like best about his hero? “The dreadlocks,” Markus said.

Markus benefited from being a former Mount Lebanon neighbor to Mike Wilson, baseball coach at Duquesne University and father of professional player Josh Wilson. The coach took an interest in the youngster the past few years and helped with his progress.

Markus is small, standing just over 4-foot-6 and weighing 66 pounds. But he is 100 percent effort.

“We waiting for a growth spurt,” said his mother.