Mount Olive’s Williams enjoying the ride

Published 9:13 pm Monday, May 5, 2008

By By KEVIN TRAVIS, Sports Editor
Anthony Williams thought he was living a pretty good life.
He was starting at second base for one of the best baseball teams in the nation, the Mount Olive Trojans. The former Williamston High School star was content going to school and living with his golden retriever, Joe.
Though Williams never took life for granted, a tragedy at home changed his life.
Williams lost everything in the fire, including his beloved dog.
Williams said he did feel blessed that he wasn’t home at the time of the fire, which was later determined to be an electrical one.
The incident changed Williams’ outlook on life.
Williams, who now has a black lab, Morgan, to help keep him company, was moved by the outpouring of support he received.
Williams didn’t let his losses weigh him down. Instead, he used that as motivation for his senior season with the Trojans, who are 49-5 and ranked No. 1 in the Collegiate Baseball Division II Top 30 Poll.
Heading into South Atlantic Regional tournament play May 15, Williams is hitting .311 with 23 RBIs. The 5-10, 150-pound biology major, who was named to the Carolina Conference second team, is a perfect 19-19 in stolen bases attempts. He has smacked four triples and eight doubles.
The steady second baseman, who has a .968 fielding percentage, has helped to turn 40 double plays.
Williams actually entered the Mount Olive program as a shortstop. After going through what he called a “bad case of brick hands” as shortstop his freshman year, Williams was moved to second.
Williams grew into a splendid second baseman. In four years, he has helped to turn 135 double plays, including 82 over the past two years.
He hasn’t been too shabby at the plate either. He hit .283 with a homer and 17 RBIs as a junior, .301 with a homer and 23 RBIs his sophomore season and .260 with 14 RBIs as a freshman.
Out of his 597 at-bats and 173 hits (.290 career batting average), one really sticks out in his mind. Williams, who had been struggling at the plate, slapped the game-winner against Belmont-Abbey in the conference tournament.
Winning games is nothing new to Williams and the Mount Olive baseball program. The Trojans have won 163 games during Williams’ four-year career, including 98 the past two years.
Being a part of most of the wins have been Williams’ parents, Dillon and Winifred Williams.
Williams is hoping that he won’t have to give up playing baseball once college is over.
For now, Williams said he feels lucky to be a part of the top-ranked Trojans.