Sophomore Williams emerges as star for champion Knights
With so many new faces on the roster coming into this season, Episcopal softball coach Caitlyn Cain thought 2022 might be a rebuilding year, even after four straight championships.
Sophomore Allie Williams did her best to make sure it was not.
Williams starred for the Knights this season, hitting .353 with a .455 on-base percentage and leading the team in RBIs (34), walks (16) and home runs (six) to help Episcopal to an unprecedented fifth straight Southwest Preparatory Conference championship, its 20th overall.
“I had to really adjust this year as a hitter,” Williams said. “I had to make each at-bat count more to help score runs. I got pitched to differently as a hitter, so I had to make in-game at-bat adjustments all the time.”
Whatever she did, it worked.
In 68 at-bats, Williams struck out only six times. Fifteen of her 24 hits went for extra bases.
With four freshmen starting after the Knights graduated a plethora of key seniors from last year’s team, Williams did whatever was best for the team. She often moved from the outfield to catcher to fill in when needed.
“I knew I needed to do whatever my coaches and team needed me to do, so we could continue to stay competitive during the season,” Williams said.
Episcopal sophomore Allie Williams.Courtesy of Allie Williams.
Williams spoke more with VYPE about her stellar campaign.
VYPE: You all had another championship season. What was key this year?
WILLIAMS: The senior leadership was huge. Our pitcher (Reese Barrett) and catcher (Lily Tanner) were both senior four-year starters, so they were a big reason we were successful on defense. Our infield and outfield did a lot to keep runs off the scoreboard. We also could hit the ball well and could hit pretty deep into our lineup, so we scored a bunch, too, which took pressure off of our pitcher. Our non-SPC schedule had us playing against really good Houston-area schools that helped us prepare for conference play.
VYPE: That’s now five state titles in a row for Episcopal. What is it about the program and Coach Cain that you think is so special to have such a standard like that?
WILLIAMS: Coach Cain is a great coach who has high expectations for us. She won four championships at EHS as a player, so she has a standard of continuing tradition, which means winning the SPC. It’s also great to play for a program that’s known for winning. It’s what stood out to me about EHS. Coach Cain also puts us in the best position to be successful because of the coaches she brings on. She and the coaches are really dedicated to our team. They spend a lot of time preparing for and working with us at practice.
VYPE: At what point during this season did you all see that you could win state again? Was there a practice or a game or a moment where things just clicked?
WILLIAMS: Our first SPC game against St. John’s was a close game, which we won 4-3. They are a good team, and we knew if we could beat them, we would definitely have a shot at another title. We also knew we would see them again in the SPC Tournament. Our team has great chemistry. We had a lot of girls who kept the dugout energy going and we fed off of that positive energy. Our coaches also reminded us at every practice of our goal, “5-20,” (five straight SPC championships, 20 total) so we knew what was at stake.
VYPE: Obviously the expectation is to win state again next year. What has to happen for the team to win six in a row?
WILLIAMS: As long as everyone commits and buys into our program and what our coaches teach us, we can keep this going for a long time. I think preparation for next year has already started. Everyone has something they are working on to get better for the next season. We have talented players who work hard, so I think anything is possible.