In her freshman season, Williams posted numbers for a seasoned senior to envy. She recorded a 17-2 record, two saves, a 1.36 ERA, allowed opponents to hit only .192 and struck out 169 batters in 134 innings. Despite the impressive stats, Williams believes there’s room for improvement. “I need to work on not allowing hits when I have two strikes on the batter,” she said. “Also I need to not walk as many batters.”
That was echoed by Freedom Manager Jeff Jonas: “I would like to see her lose fewer batters when she is up in the count. You’d think that would be easy, but it’s not. The ball just seems to have a way of moving across the plate. I’d like to see her improve on spins, which she will, and that will be the strong suit of her game. She will gain speed with maturity, strength and leg drive.”
But Jonas was ecstatic about Williams’ overall performance. “It was far better than expected, because I wasn’t expecting anything,” he said. “Over the summer, I saw her about 20 times and I knew she was coming along; I just wasn’t expecting so much. It takes about 10,000 practice pitches to be ready to pitch in games. I didn’t think she’d have so much growth in her abilities.”
On Williams’ character, Jonas said, “She’s a great teammate. She gets along well with everyone. Being the youngest of three has to help, because I’m sure she spent enough time with her sisters and their friends. But she also gets along well all around school, not just with the kids on the softball team. She’s just always been a nice kid. She can be more of a vocal leader. She doesn’t say much, which is expected from a freshman who is on a team of mostly sophomores, juniors and seniors. Right now she’s just a lead-by-example type.”
Williams is the last in a line of three Williams pitchers who will have dominated the Falcon softball diamond – and Bay Valley Athletic League – for more a decade by the time she graduates. Madison has definitely inherited the genes and hard work ethic that catapulted Hannah, who graduated in 2009, and Amanda, who graduated in 2006, to the top. Amanda’s arrival in 2003 turned Freedom, which already had a good softball program, into a national power.
“It definitely wasn’t easy coming in as a freshman after what they did,” said Madison, who is known as Maddy. “Amanda is my pitching coach. She’s the one I work with to improve. She’s been the one to help.” Madison is also playing with her father’s team, the Nor-Cal Outlaws, over the summer.
While Williams was pleased with the season, she knows that improvement will be tough. “We really stepped up this season,” she said. “The freshmen will have to step up again next season. It really doesn’t matter who you lose; it matters who replaces them and how they step up and fill the shoes. I also want to thank the girls and the coaches, because without them we would have never been in the championship game.”