Bulldogs’ Williams wins WSL co-player of the year award
Ben Williams finished the 2011 season with an ERA of 4.26, 52 strikeouts and half of the Moffat County High School baseball team’s eight wins.
But, Williams’s contribution wasn’t only on the pitching mound.
At the plate, Williams had team-highs with 37 RBIs and nine home runs, and was second on the team with a batting average of .593.
His offensive and defensive production for the Bulldogs this season earned Williams, a Hayden High School senior, the co-player of the year award in the Western Slope League.
“I came up in big spots,” Williams said Wednesday after receiving the award at the team’s postseason banquet. “Dylon (Camilletti) and Graig (Medvesk) would get on base, and I was able to bat them in.”
Williams was also named first team all-conference along with teammates Camilletti, an MCHS senior, and MCHS sophomore Bubba Ivers.
Medvesk, a Hayden senior, and MCHS junior Carlos Maldonado were named honorable mentions.
After announcing Williams as the co-player of the year, head coach Justin Folley said he believed Williams did enough this season to be alone in receiving the award.
The other co-player of the year had not received his award as of Wednesday, Folley said, so he could not release his name.
“The other guy came up big in hitting and pitching for his team, and was a leader,” Folley said. “Ben beat him by a little in the batting stats, but Ben was beat a little in the pitching. It is always good when you can recognize more athletes, but Ben was the most valuable player on our team, and I think of the conference.”
As a senior, Williams said he was happy with the award and with the Bulldogs’ season.
MCHS finished 8-9 overall, 8-4 in the WSL and made the 4A state playoffs as the No. 32 seed. The team fell to No. 1 Palmer Ridge High School in the first round, 8-0.
“I always wish we could have done better,” Williams said. “But, we did pretty good and made the playoffs, so it was a good season.”
Camilletti said the difference between this year’s team and teams in previous years was the togetherness.
“We have been together as a team for a while and we came out in higher spirits this year,” he said. “We made the playoffs for the first time since my freshman year, and we played better ball.”
Folley said Camilletti’s leadership was why he was one of the best shortstops in the league.
“When it was game time, the kid stepped up,” Folley said of Camilletti. “On defense, he took charge of the team and he worked hard on the quickness of his hands and his footwork to get better. He looked for the extra outs and stayed with plays all the way through.”
Camilletti was the leadoff batter for the Bulldogs this season, racking up 23 runs with a batting average of .475.
The team leader in batting average, however, was Ivers.
Ivers had a batting average of .610 on 36 hits with 21 RBIs and three homeruns.
“I found my swing again for the first time since I was 12,” Ivers said. “I hit the ball pretty good this year and was able to knock in a lot of runs.”
Folley said the difference Ivers brought to the team was he was a sophomore playing at a senior level.
“Bubba had a great freshman year, but this year he made adjustments with his swing and with his pitching mechanics to be even better,” he said. “As a sophomore, he took on the vocal leadership role and helped in getting our team to the playoffs.”
Next year, the Bulldogs will return two seniors in Maldonado and Ivan Nielson.
Folley said the team will be young, but hopes the players will step up their game.
“We had young guys step up this year and make a difference,” he said. “If we can get a couple more guys to do that next year, we will be OK. It is always a tough league, but we will see what happens.”