RCC catcher signs with Mary

Published 1:25 pm Sunday, May 22, 2011

Riverland's Kyal Williams is greeted at home by teammates after a solo homerun in the first game of a doubleheader against RCTC Wednesday afternoon. - Herald file photo

Two years ago, Kyal Williams came halfway across the world with the hopes of landing a baseball scholarship.

After two solid seasons at Riverland, where the Australian native played in the NJCAA World Series and was named RCC’s male athlete of the year, Williams has made his dream a reality.

He recently signed a partial athletic scholarship to play for Division II University of Mary in Bismarck, N.D.

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“It’s something I really strived for and I know I’ll be playing in the top conference in Division II,” Williams said. “It’s an exciting time.”

Since arriving in Austin from Adlaide, South Australia, two years ago, Williams has done nothing but work hard. He’s put in a lot of time in the batting cage and he even took on the task of playing five positions as a freshman.

This last spring he was RCC’s primary catcher and one of its top pitchers.

“We’re happy for him,” RCC head coach Scott Koenigs said. “He’s worked hard for two years and he was the guy who would carry a bat around campus. He was always working on his swing and practicing. He’ll do anything you ask him to do and he’ll do anything to help the team get better.”

Williams hit .408 with three homers this past season, while leading the team in RBIs (36) and doubles (13). On the mound, he was 5-2 with an ERA of 2.96.

The Marauders, who were 10-32 overall last season, play in the Northern Sun Conference and they weren’t the only team in that conference interested in Williams. Minnesota State in Mankato was also in contact but they couldn’t guarantee Williams a starting spot.

There were other schools that called as well.

“I didn’t think I’d ever get that many calls from coaches,” Williams said. “Mary was good on the educational side of it and I’ll have a chance to play right away.”

Williams is likely to take on the catching role at Mary’s next year and with pitching out of the way, he’ll have a lot more time to work behind the plate and improve.

“He’s going to be pretty darn good at the next level. He’ll be successful,” Koenigs said. “He’ll be missed not only on the team, but in the building. Everybody knew Aussie.”

Williams will also see some familiar faces on the diamond next year. Riverland grads Brian Voigt, who is at Augustana, and Kyle Young, who signed with Southwest State, both play in the Northern Sun Conference as well.

“That’s going to be some good fun. A little rivalry between us will be good,” Williams said.

While it was a risk for Williams to move to America in hopes of landing a baseball scholarship, he can finally look back and be pleased with his decision.

“You sort of never know what’s going to happen when you’re at a junior college,” he said. “But after having a good year last year and an even better year this year, I knew it was the right choice.”

Williams was named to the All-Conference, All-State, and All Region teams this spring.