Mesa State’s Williams thrives in different pitching roles

Andy Williams gets the question all the time from his coaches and teachers.

“Can you sing?”

The Mesa State College pitcher is used to the question, given he shares the same name as the singer who made “Moon River” famous in the 1960s.

“My brother is a singer, not me,” Williams said. “My parents liked the name Andrew, but I like the name Andy. These guys (teammates) have no clue, but all the coaches give me crap.”

He may not sing like the popular crooner, but he has other talents, including being ambidextrous.

“I do everything lefty, except when I play sports,” Williams said. “I wish I was lefty, though.

My brother is a lefty. I do all the wrong things righty. My parents have picture of me when I was a kid holding a glove in my right hand with a ball in my left hand.

“I always ask them, ‘Why didn’t you let me keep doing that?’ They let me do whatever.

They didn’t notice a difference between being a lefty or righty pitcher.”

The right-hander from Taos, N.M., has pitched his way into college and is fourth on Mesa’s team in innings pitched (36 1/3) this season.

Williams (3-0, 5.70 ERA) has six starts in eight appearances and is hoping to start in the weekend series in Las Vegas, N.M., against New Mexico Highlands (31-14, 21-8 RMAC) near his hometown. The second-ranked Mavericks (35-7, 25-4 RMAC) are still ranked
first in the NCAA Central Region.

“We’ll be staying in my hometown Thursday night,” Williams said. “I never thought that would ever happen. Going home will be pretty cool. I have a lot of family there.

“I never thought I’d be able to go home and pitch in front of family and friends. ”

Williams pitched mostly in relief last season with an occasional start. This year, he’s been a starter, with a couple of relief appearances. Either way, Mesa State coach Chris Hanks is confident Williams is ready to take the mound.

“He is a solid person and a dependable kid,” Hanks said. “You know what you’re going to get when you pitch him. He’ll give you a chance to win in a game he pitches.  He’s not going to strike a ton of guys out, but he is a strike thrower.

“That’s one good thing about Andy, he won’t hurt himself and if you don’t beat yourself, you have a good chance to win. He wants to start, but he is versatile because he can pitch in long relief.  He’ll take whatever role that best fits the team.”

Williams has pitched in different roles, in part, because of inclement weather.

He’s missed four possible starts, two in the past three weeks.

“It’s been frustrating,” said Williams, who’s pitched in the fourth spot. “You’ve got to have patience. If a start gets bumped, you’ve got to be ready for whatever role.

“These guys have a joke whenever the weather’s bad, they ask if Williams is pitching today.”

He’s learned how to deal with the frustration of missing a start.

“I read a book by John Wooden,” said Williams, who made the RMAC All-Academic team honor roll with a 3.48 GPA. “It talks about what you need to be a good leader. Two of the main factors are patience and faith. 

“You’ve got to have faith things will work out the way they’re supposed to and you’ve got to have patience if your start gets bumped, it happens for a reason. It may work out for the best. Maybe I’ll be more fresh for the end of the year.”


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