For seven years, she competed against boys on the baseball diamond, starting at T-ball and progressing through little league. At 12 years old, Williams exhausted her baseball eligibility, picked up softball and brought a powerful bat with her.
On a brisk Friday night in Alexandria, the 14-year-old Williams smacked the second of back-to-back home runs in a 7-0 win over Virginia AAA Patriot District foe West Potomac.
“I love softball,” Williams said. “It’s not that much different than baseball except for the [pitcher’s] release. I got used to it pretty quickly. “
West Potomac (10-7, 8-4) held the Stallions (15-1, 10-1) scoreless through two innings, but homers from junior cleanup hitter Haylea Geer and Williams broke the game open in the third.
After the Wolverines induced outs against the first two batters, freshman right fielder Carley Kastner drew a walk, junior shortstop Whitney Burks singled and Geer blasted a three-run shot over the center field fence.
Then Williams came up, knowing she had a tough act to follow.
“I was like, ‘Thanks Haley.’ How do I live up to that? I didn’t think I would hit another one,” Williams said.
But after swinging and missing on two outside pitches, she turned on an inside pitch.
“She’s just very advanced for a freshman,” South County Coach Gary Dillow said. “She stepped up into the lineup right away.”
With Williams and Geer producing ahead of her, Burks was the beneficiary, going 2 for 2 with two singles, drawing a walk and scoring two runs.
Junior Rebecca Martin pitched her ninth shutout of the year.
Martin evaded trouble in the fourth inning when she stranded two batters. She did it again in the fifth when she allowed two hits and a walk before a tagout at second and a fly ball to right field saved the inning.
“I knew my team was behind me,” Martin said. “They always make really good plays to get me out of tough spots like that.”
With the win, South County stays even atop the district with Lake Braddock, which beat West Potomac in extra innings Wednesday.
The Stallions and the Bruins are the only teams to beat one another. They split the two-game series, and the top seed in the district tournament will be decided by several tiebreakers if both teams win out, Dillow said.