When Garrett Williams was playing in the Western Little League in Lubbock, Texas, the coaches, and the community felt the league had the talent to make it to Williamsport. Mr. Williams believed them.
“We were all friends, we had a great group of guys, the best coaches, and we worked really hard,” said Mr. Williams. “Our number-one goal was to make it to Williamsport.”
That dream began with Mr. William’s eight-year-old All Star team. In 2007, that dream became reality as a bunch of 12-year-olds from Western Little League became the first team from Lubbock to make it to the grandest stage in youth sports.
“I’ll never forget when we arrived in Williamsport, our team was taken down to the field, and they turned the lights on for us,” said Mr. Williams. “I got chills. We all did. We saw that field every year, but it was always on TV. Now, we were there. We did it! It could not have been a better experience.”
Mr. Williams and his Southwest Region Champion teammates finished third in the 2007 Little League Baseball® World Series. In Williamsport, he notched three wins, pitching 16 innings, striking out a remarkable 42 batters, and finished the tournament with a 0.00 ERA. He credits that experience with where he is today.
Mr. Williams is in his junior year as a pitcher for the Oklahoma State Cowboys, who are in the 2016 College World Series in Omaha, Nebraska. And, he’s not the only one from that team from Lubbock to be competing in Omaha, as his teammate, Stephen Smith, is an outfielder for Texas Tech University, who is competing in his second College World Series.
“Competing in Williamsport got me used to playing with a little more pressure,” said Mr. Williams. “The College World Series is a different stage, but the lights are bright like in Williamsport.”
That’s not the only similarity between Mr. Williams two World Series experiences.
“When you think about it, I guess there are a lot of similarities with my Williamsport team and my current one,” said Garrett. “We all get along, and support each other. We have great coaches, and a group of players who have worked toward a goal for the last two or three years.”
When the Cowboys arrived in Omaha, guess what was the first thing the tournament staff did with the team? Took them to the field. Garrett, now 21, got the same chills he did as a 12-year-old in Williamsport.
Mr. Williams and Mr. Smith are just two of at least 24 players competing in the College World Series to get their start at local Little League programs around the world. In the history of baseball, only three players – Ed Vosberg, Jason Varitek, and Michael Conforto – to compete in the Little League Baseball, College, and Major League Baseball World Series. Someday, both hope they can join that club.