As of Wednesday, May 30, 2012
AUSTIN - Taylor Williams has had the kind of season most softball players dream of having. The junior has a high batting average and brought in a lot of runs, but that hasn't made this season any less frustrating for Flatonia's third baseman.
What was making it so frustrating? She had been getting the Barry Bonds treatment.
Entering into the Class 1A state softball tournament, the South Carolina commit has been walked 39 times, many of those intentional. All because of what she can do at the plate.
Garrison gave her a chance early on to show what she could do. And Williams, ever the threat at the plate, did not disappoint.
Williams gave starting pitcher Katie Steinhauser all the run support she would need by hitting a two-run homer that hit the McCombs Field scoreboard beyond the 220-feet sign in center field Wednesday as the Lady Bulldogs beat Garrison 4-1 on Wednesday afternoon.
Flatonia advances to Thursday's Class 1A final against Ivanhoe Rayburn.
"It felt pretty nice to hit the scoreboard," Williams said. "It gave our pitcher some cushion to pitch with and I feel like we have what it takes.
"I was just waiting on the pitch, my coach told me to stay patient and eventually the pitcher would make a mistake or throw your pitch."
Williams went 1 for 2 with two RBIs and a run scored.
Steinhauser didn't need the help. The sophomore pitcher stifled Garrison's offense, holding them to one run on three hits on just one walk in seven innings. The No. 1 through 3 batters of Courtney Mica, Williams and Alexandra Bruns combined to go 5 for 8 for the Lady Bulldogs, providing almost all of the field.
Flatonia pushed its way in front early thanks to control problems from Garrison starter Heflin. Heflin walked three straight batters and a wild pitch brought in Williams to give Flatonia a one-run lead after an inning.
After Mica doubled Flatonia's lead with an RBI single to right, Williams followed in the order and worked the count from Garrison starter Cat Heflin full.
Stryk said one thought crept into his mind.
"I hope she makes a mistake and puts one over the plate," Stryk said.
Although Heflin overcame early control trouble and found her form, the four-run lead she spotted Flatonia in the first two innings proved to be too much for Garrison, which never found a rhythm at the plate against Steinhauser. Heflin retired 12 of the final 14 Lady Bulldogs she faced.
"Out of the four pitchers that pitched today, she was the nastiest one," Stryk said.
The only blemish for Flatonia was an run that scored on the top of the sixth due to an infield error.
Flatonia can win its second state title in two tries at the state tournament on Thursday by beating a good hitting Rayburn team.
Stryk said that the Rebels have a starting batting average 100 points higher than Flatonia's. Rayburn is 25-1-1 on the season.
Despite the numbers, Williams and Steinhauser are up to playing one game as the underdog and possibly bringing home.
"I think we just have to make plays on the field and we'll open up the bats a little bit and take care of business," Williams said.
Added Steinhauser: "I just think that anyone can beat anyone and it's a matter of who shows up to play, who takes care of business and I think that tomorrow we're going to."
Class 1A State Semifinal
Flatonia 4, Garrison 1
Garrison 000 001 0 - 1 3 1
Flatonia 130 000 x - 4 7 3
W: Katie Steinhauser (27-5; L: Cat Heflin (17-5); Highlights: Steinhauser, 7 IP, 3 hits, 1 ER; Courtney Mica, 3 for 3, RBI, RS; Taylor Williams, 1 for 2, 2 RBIs, RS. RECORDS: Flatonia 29-8; Garrison 25-7-1.