Athlete Feature: Maria Williamson, Coker

IMG_2076_Rotator - Feature ImageLast season the Coker Cobras struggled to 15-32-1 and last place 6-16 South Atlantic finish.  However, this season Coker Head Coach Travis McCall who is in his third year has righted the ship and is making a big impression in the Southeast.  “We are a year older and more experienced and the tough losses that we encountered last year helped motivate our players to get over the hump and finish ballgames,” said Coach McCall.  This season Coker has already matched their conference wins from last season with 6 and had 

Finish they have this season, last year in 25 of their 32 losses they scored 3 or less runs, this season they have scored less than 3 only 10 times.  In the month of February Coker logged a 15-3 record, tying their win total from last year, with wins over Augusta, Lander, Columbus State and Charleston (WV) to punctuate their hot start.

“There is an expectation to win every game we play and not just be competitive,” stated Coach McCall. “I think we’ve had great leadership, especially from our senior class and that has really helped us stay consistent in how we go about our business day to day. This group has had great focus all spring and I think that is showing up in our consistency.”

IMG_6871In fewer games this season the Cobras have already scored 250 runs (182 in 2016), 24 homeruns (22 in 2016), and are hitting .303 as a team compared to a .280 in 2016.  One of the biggest keys to the Coker success is the rise of sophomore Maria Williamson who is currently tied in the Southeast and second in NCAA DII with 12 homeruns.  Williamson also currently leads all of NCAA DII with 98 total bases impart to her homeruns, a triple and 12 doubles.  “Last year was hard, however that was last year,” said Williamson. “In the very beginning of this season our coach told us that everything we wanted to accomplish was right in front of us and all we have to do was go out and work everyday. I believe our team entire team has bought into this mindset, and we are all doing everything we can to make our team better.”

Last year Williamson produced some power hitting 8 homeruns, but fell short hitting .288 compared to her .383 batting average this season.  “Since last year everything has seemed to slow down for me… and I have gained more confidence since last year,” said Williamson.  “I have realized that not everything is in my control and I have to go with the ups and downs of this game.  Our coach always preaches how fast this game can humble you, and I have taken that to heart this year, focusing more on details and trying to be the best player I can for my team.”

IMG_6872Williamson is currently leading the SAC in homeruns, RBI (43), and total bases while sitting in the top 5 with slugging percentage (4th with .759), doubles (4th with 12), and hits (5th with 51). “The biggest change that I’ve seen in Maria is her ability to just relax, play and let the game come to her,” said Coach McCall about Williamson’s increase in productivity this season. “Last year she pressed a little from time to time and now she understands the mental side of hitting at this level much more and that is why she’s been so successful thus far.”

As the tallest Cobra on the team at 6’0” Williamson is hard to miss but her unique 00 number and a mighty swing helps the sophomore stand out a little more.  When asked about the number 00 Williams said, “I chose 00 because it was the number my older sister always wore,” Williamson sister signed and played at NC State.  “When I was young I thought I was always going to have to live in her shadow. However I realized that she was the best softball coach I ever had… For me she was my Jennie Finch, my idol.”

With a sweep over Catawba yesterday, Coker sits tied for second at 6-2 in the conference and looks to return to the SAC tournament after making it as an 8 seed in Coach McCall’s first season, 2015.  “As a group our main focus is to treat each game as the most important game of the season because it’s the next one on our schedule,” said Coach McCall. “We have great respect for everyone on our schedule and know we have to play our best game each time out to be successful. Obviously at the end of the day we all want to win a championship and have a shot at that come late April.”

IMG_3596_RotatorAs for Williamson she will still have two more years to help rewrite the record books at Coker and grow as a role model for young girls wanting to reach the college softball level.  “Every young softball player dreams of playing softball in college,” said Williamson when asked about advice for younger softball players who want to play college softball.  “For many this dream can become stressful. I know it was for me. It all begins with your teammates getting looks from coaches, or even offers and you begin to think, maybe I’m not good enough because this awesome experience is not happening for me.  I would tell the the young player to relax and let this experience run its course.  The time will come when you are seen, and the time will come when you have to make one of the biggest decisions in your life. So until then enjoy every moment with your team, friends, and family. Because you will never get those moments back, and when your time does come choose the school that is perfect for you and only you.”   


One response to “Athlete Feature: Maria Williamson, Coker

  1. Pingback: Sports Report for Thursday, 4-6-2017 - WLBG·

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