Cole Williams had been out of Ohio’s starting lineup since the Hughes Bros. Challenge in mid-February. He’d had a few pinch hit appearances since then, but Williams hadn’t gotten a hit since Feb. 19. Williams was in a true slump.
However, Williams broke his string of bad luck in a big way during Ohio’s 11-7 win against Central Michigan. He hit two home runs and a single to help steer his team to victory.
Ohio coach Craig Moore needed something different for the second game of the weekend, and he thought maybe it was time to look at Williams again. Moore was ready to give him a second chance
“We talked last night after the game about making a little bit of a lineup adjustment and maybe giving some guys another opportunity,” Moore said. “Cole had plenty of opportunities in beginning of the year and he kind of fell into a little bit of a stretch where he had some struggles, so we felt like we could sit him fown and maybe play somebody else. When he got his opportunity, he took full advantage of it.”
Williams’ first home run came in the bottom of the second. Will Sturek and Gideon Antle both hit singles to put two on base for the Bobcats. Williams stepped into the box for his first at-bat of the day and locked in.
The ball flew off of Williams’ bat straight into the batter’s eye in centerfield. The Ohio dugout erupted in cheers as Williams trotted around the bases. In that moment, there was nothing sweeter for Williams. He’d just broken his slump with a home run and had put Ohio on the board before Central Michigan.
Williams got up to bat again in the bottom of the fourth, where he hit a single to left field. He advanced to second on a wild pitch and soon ran home on a double by Alex Finney.
At that point, Williams was on a hot streak.
“It’s been a while. It felt good,” Williams said. “On a windy day like this, you’ve got to go out swinging. I was seeing the ball really well.”
The designated hitter continued his success in the bottom of the fifth. With two outs, Williams sent a sky-high ball out to right field. The ball landed over the fence, just barely inside fair territory.
Once again, Bob Wren Stadium went berserk. Williams rounded the bases and greeted one of his teammates with a jumping high-five. When Williams hit the ground, he yelled in excitement.
“I’m going to be honest, I don’t really remember touching first base. I might have blacked out there for a second, but that felt really good,” Williams said. “Seeing the boys on the bench go crazy just fuels a fire.”
All of the frustration of the past month left Williams’ body on Saturday. He channeled his energy into a five-RBI performance that helped Ohio hand Central Michigan its first Mid-American Conference loss of the season.
Williams is a new addition to Ohio’s roster this season, and if he can continue his hot streak, he may prove to be an important piece to Ohio’s already exuberant offense.