PICTOU COUNTY – Thorburn’s Andrea Williams was dominate in NSSAF girls softball play with North Nova before she graduated last June, and only six games into her season with the Johnson State Badgers she’s carrying that strong play over to the collegiate level.
Williams went 1-1 on the team’s first trip to Myrtle Beach with 20 strikeouts, three walks, 15 hits and seven earned runs in 14 innings. She really stood out against Hilbert, though, pitching a four-hit shutout that featured 12 strikeouts and two walks. She also was 4-for-9 at the plate (.444) with two RBIs and two runs scored.
“I just wanted to go to the States so I could play softball and the expectation to have a fun year and try to be successful with the team,” said Williams. “I’ve enjoyed every bit of it so far and everyone on the team and at the school have been fantastic.”
Success is exactly what she’s had, being named the student-athlete of the week for Johnson State and rookie of the week for the NCAA Division III North Atlantic Conference.
Those honours and strong numbers came even after having to adjust to different pitching rules. She said it didn’t take too long to change what she needed to. The other major difference was having a larger team, with four pitchers on the roster.
“I think it’s a positive having more pitchers even if I don’t play as much,” she said. “I work harder so I can play. It’s a motivation to play better because there’s three other girls fighting for the same spot. You need to go the extra mile to get the playing time.
“In high school I could rely on my fastball more, but this year I have to use my rise and drop more because I can’t get as many strikeouts with speed.”
This season she is one of nine freshmen on the team, which only has two seniors and the remaining players being sophomores or juniors. Williams said that has made it easy to adjust to the team.
In her first year away from home, being in a rural area in Johnson, Vt., it’s made it easier to adjust. She said her parents were down a few times in the fall to visit and that they will have the chance to see her play in Maine in April.
“It’s been nice being in a similar community to home for sure,” said Williams. “I Skype with my family almost every day and keep in touch as much as I can. Having them come down a few times was great and sometimes our games are online so they can watch them there too.”
The first-year health sciences student said her coach has a major focus on academics, which helps ensure it’s first priority. She also said it wasn’t as tough as she’d anticipated, balancing both athletics and her studies.
“It isn’t as hard as I thought it would be,” she said. “There are some challenges, like when we got back from Myrtle Beach having to catch up on my studies, but our coach is student focused first, with our academic work being a priority or athletics. I’ve learned to manage my time well so I can stay on top of my studies.”
The Badgers softball season runs until April.
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