Vote for the Braves Baseball Coach of the Week: Week 9

Great coaches can instill a lifelong love of the game

Coaches teach young athletes about hard work, passion and good sportsmanship — skills that are just as important off the field — and can instill a lifelong love of the game.

This summer, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution and the Atlanta Braves are teaming up to honor the youth baseball and softball coaches who are making a difference on the field and in their communities.

“We would like to recognize the outstanding coaches in Georgia providing our young athletes with exceptional playing experience. The most important thing to know is the fundamentals, but there is so much more than that,” the Braves said in a statement.

This week’s nominees have all demonstrated outstanding dedication to providing youth athletes with exceptional playing experiences. Check out their profiles and vote for your favorite. Not only will the winning coaches be profiled in The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, but each will also receive a $100 gift card from Kroger and a baseball autographed by a Braves player.

Vote for your favorite coach

Voting is open through Sunday. The winner will be announced the following week on the Braves Coach of the Week page.

UPDATE: Voting is closed.

Credit: Contributed photo

Credit: Contributed photo

Austin Hamilton

Austin Hamilton is a soldier by day and “by night, he is a dedicated coach,” Samantha Resta wrote in her nomination of the coach. “He will start fresh with a new team and build them up to be the best team on the field. He pushes the boys hard but rewards them when they do a good job. Whether it is showing them how to throw, catch or be a team player, he guides them to be a better player. … He takes extra time with each kid to assure they feel comfortable on the team, whether it’s an extra 10 minutes in the batting cages or a 10 minute talk to pump them up.”

“No matter any challenges he faces being active duty in the Army he makes sure those kids are his priority out on the field each time they take it,” she added. “This is why he should be chosen for the Coach of the week.”

Credit: Contributed photo

Credit: Contributed photo

Andrew Ritz

“We have a team that has won only one game all season, but he continues to support our boys and takes time to teach the fundamentals,” nominator Janelle (no last name given) wrote. “My son loves baseball again because of him. He had a very bad experience the year before and told us he didn’t want to play anymore. He now plays for coach Andrew and is begging to go to practices and team activities. He helped my son overcome a lot of anxiety and anger, by simply showing him that it is OK to mess up and that regardless of what he does on the field, coach Andrew will love him and how grateful he is to have him on his team.”

Jesse Jarrett echoed that sentiment: “He is awesome at teaching and motivating kids. He always has a positive attitude and is very knowledgeable of the game. He always goes the extra mile to help every kid understand the game.”

Credit: Contributed photo

Credit: Contributed photo

Richard Welling

Richard Welling has been coaching for eight years, and “he always teaches kids how to love the game of baseball,” Stephanie Welling wrote. “He teaches good sportsmanship and allows players to grow.He builds kids up and works hard to make sure they always feel valued and wanted on his team.

“He volunteers his time and is always there for his team,” she continued. “He is the coach others wish their kids had and others should strive to be like.”

Previous Braves Baseball Coaches of the Week

Week 1: Doug Spence

Week 2: Dustin Rutledge

Week 3: Vincent Altimari

Week 4: Daniel Griffin

Week 5: Russell Yeatman

Week 6: Chase Timms

Week 7: Lee Wilson

Week 8: Stephen Scott