May 5, 2009
MABEN -- Caitlyn Williamson knows how to make an exit.
Down to what could have been the next-to-last at-bat in her prep career, the East Webster High School standout didn''t go to the plate looking to hit a home run.
She was merely trying to add another defining moment to the Lady Wolverines'' march to a fourth consecutive state championship.
Turns out Williamson provided an exclamation point that punctuated a season and a four-year run of excellence.
Williamson''s three-run in the fifth inning Saturday helped seal East Webster''s 8-2 victory against Smithville in game two of its sweep of the Mississippi High School Activities Association Class 1A title series.
The senior designated player also added an RBI single in the third inning.
For her accomplishments, Williamson is The Commercial Dispatch Prep Player of the Week.
"I definitely think she put an exclamation point on our season and on our playoff run because we kind of felt like Smithville still had a chance, still had a chance (to come back) until the three-run shot put the icing on the cake," East Webster coach Bill Brand said.
Key hits are nothing new for Williamson, who hit in the middle of the lineup and was part of a run of five consecutive senior hitters: No. 2 batter Jordan Sisk, Jessica Halterman, Iyeshia Thomas, Williamson, and Darlynda Wilson.
Each player made unique contributions in East Webster''s title. Save for the home runs, Williamson remained a quiet leader who allowed her bat to do the damage.
"Caitlyn comes through and does what she is supposed to do," said Thomas, who played right field. "She is a great hitter in my book."
Brand said Williamson handled the role of designated player well. He said she stayed in the games on the bench and always seemed to be right there with the coaches.
Sitting on the bench was an adjustment because Williamson shared the catching duties with Sisk for most of the regular season.
As that part of the season neared the end, the East Webster coaches went with Sisk and had Williamson be the designated player.
Brand said Williamson didn''t allow ego to factor into the move and made sure she did her job as best as she could.
"She really stepped up and did what was best for the team," Brand said. "I don''t know if kids ever realize it is best for the other kid to be playing. Caitlyn helped us by not allowing it to become a distraction and accepting the decision. I respect Caitlyn for stepping up and being that quiet leader."
Brand watched Friday as Williamson talked to Chloe Roberson, who had a tough game in East Webster''s 8-5 victory in game one.
He said Williamson talked with Roberson, like any good family member would, and helped her stay positive and focused.
Williamson said what she did with Roberson and throughout the season was natural because she considers this year''s team "like a family." She said she feels like a sister in that family who is always willing to help a teammate.
Williamson said East Webster''s team chemistry helped make hitting a home run feel like it was an even sweeter part of another state title.
"It is an amazing feeling because these girls are so much together and like a family," Williamson said. "When I hit it I pretty much knew it was going to go out."
Brand said it was satisfying to see his seniors go out with one more state title. He said each player had their role to play and that Williamson was a quiet leader who knew when and when not to say something.
"Some people force their way on you and some are there for you when you need someone to talk to," Brand said. "That''s Caitlyn. She would be there for you and would say something if you needed to be picked up."
Williamson showed Saturday she also knows when to let her bat do the talking.
Adam Minichino is the Sports Editor for The Commercial Dispatch.
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