Player of the Week: James Sawyer

GREENVILLE, N.C. (WITN) – Tar Heel Little League pitcher James Sawyer is our newest WITN Pepsi Player of the Week!

This past Sunday, Tar Heel Little League won its third straight District 4 championship, and they did it behind the 12-year-old's sensational pitching performance.

"He's a hunter," said Tar Heel Little League manager Brayom Anderson. "He loves the competition. He loves being on the mound."

Sawyer solidified his dominance on the mound by allowing just two hits while striking out seven in a 10-0 win over Rocky Mount Little League.

"My pitches were working well, my curveballs were dying really well, and I had my defense working," said Sawyer. "Can't ask for anything more."

A masterful performance that helped Tar Heel Little League win its third consecutive District 4 title.

"He's our hoss on the mound," added Anderson. "He is a natural born pitcher, and he can shut you down with spotting the ball, throwing good, hard curveballs, and staying very accurate throughout the whole game."

"He keeps us pumped up and he's our main pitcher, so we count on him," Tar Heel shortstop Justin Grimes added.

But even in victory, Sawyer is using baseball to overcome loss.

"He was a wonderful man named Clarence Earl Mills," Sawyer said.

Clarence Mills was Sawyer's grandfather. But Sawyer, well he liked to call him 'Daddy C.'

"He meant everything in the world, more than anything," Sawyer said.

'Daddy C' passed away peacefully back on May 7th.

"My family and I have been through a lot these past couple weeks, losing a big family member, and just coming through it right here, throwing well, and having my team have good defense behind me, it's how it's always been," Sawyer added.

Now, Sawyer is honoring his loving, late grandfather by playing the sport they both loved.

"I'm a team player," said Sawyer. "Everything is by the work of my team, and I can't do anything without my team."

States are up next for Tar Heel Little League, but the goal remains the same.

"To make it to Williamsport," said Sawyer with a smile.

For more on Sawyer, check out the video above! (Feature airs Tuesday during WITN Sports at 6:20 p.m.)

NOTE: If you have a student-athlete that you would like to nominate as a WITN Pepsi Player of the Week, please email a bio to Tyler Feldman at tyler.feldman@witn.com.