Kitty Hawk Elementary School student Daniel Tillett selected to play All American Games baseball

Published 5:04 pm Saturday, June 24, 2023

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Nine-year-old Kitty Hawk Elementary School student Daniel Tillett has made a name for himself in the little leagues. The young baseball player has scored a spot on one of the USSSA All American Games baseball teams for the U.S. Southeast Region, and will play in the All-American Games in Florida this July.

The USSSA All American Baseball Program, run by the United States Specialty Sports Association (USSSA), is a program that recognizes top players in multiple age groups and provides opportunities to showcase their skills and compete against the best players from around the United States. Tryouts for the games are held across the country, and the top athletes from each region are selected to play in the main event. The All-American Games are held annually at the USSSA Space Coast Complex in Viera, Florida. This year’s tournament will take place the week of July 24 through 31.

Tillett’s mom, Sarah Waxman, shared that only 36 children in each age division are selected from across each region to form three teams representing that region (Tillett’s being one of the three 9U teams for the U.S. Southeast Region). Daniel had attended a tryout in Norfolk, Virginia, after which he was selected as a player for the USSSA All American Baseball Games.

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Waxman shared that her son has been playing baseball since he was 7-years-old, and is currently playing on a both 9U travel team and the 10U OBX All-Star team. Mike Reynolds, coach of the 9U Revenge Baseball OBX travel team, described Tillett as an “exceptional” player. “His skillset sits at the top 5% of kids his age, nationwide,” Reynolds shared.

Tillett started with Reynolds last summer, after being invited to play on an all-star team that placed 5th in states in 2022. Coach Reynolds said Tillett was the “leader of the all-star team” and now a leader of the travel team as well. “Kids look up to him and strive to get their skill sets where his is … he’s a multi-sport athlete and exceptionally talented.”

Daniel’s dad, Devin Tillett, said his son has been progressing within the sport every year. Devin shared that he would play catch with four-year-old Daniel the same he would Daniel’s older step-brother and noticed early on how well Daniel could catch the ball. “Back then he was throwing stuff around the house all the time, and my mom would say, ‘He’s going to be a pitcher one day.’” The KHES student started rec tee ball when he was four; Waxman said Daniel “opted to be pitched to instead of using the tee when he had a choice. He’s always been advanced in this sport,” she added.

The young baseball star plays a variety of positions on his teams, including catcher, pitcher, shortstop and first baseman. Sarah said, on average, her son is either playing baseball or practicing at least five times a week. “Between travel, all-stars, and practicing in the backyard, he’s out there every day.” Devin shared that Daniel’s adaptability and willingness to learn by watching other players out on the field has aided to his accelerated start in the sport. “He stands out from the other kids, baseball IQ-wise, in my opinion, which is very impressive.”

Daniel’s coach said he is their starting pitcher on the travel team, placing within the top 5% of players his age in pitch speed. Along with leadership, Reynolds said Daniel’s accountability and work ethic have helped him achieve his well-deserved success thus far. “He strives for perfection, and at his young age, that’s commendable.”