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All American Game | Story | 7/25/2016

Williams tunes up for the Classic

Vincent Cervino     
Photo: Perfect Game

EMERSON, Ga. – Team Elite is one of the top amateur baseball organizations that attend Perfect Game events. Always stacked with talent, Team Elite has yet another Perfect Game All-American in catcher Steven Williams. The Albany, Ga. product stands with a huge 6-foot-3, 215-pound frame and generates good contact and power from the left side. Williams is also noted as a good defensive catcher with plus arm strength behind the plate.

Williams was selected as a Perfect Game All-American and will be traveling to San Diego, Calif., in mid-August to play in the All-American Classic among 50 of the elite players in the class of 2017. He is currently the No. 45 overall prospect for the class and is committed to play baseball at Auburn.

“I committed early, in fall of my sophomore year, so I didn’t really have an extended time in the recruiting process,” said Williams of his commitment to Auburn. “I’ve always been an Auburn fan and they gave me a good offer combined with the players they have now. I thought I would fit in pretty well so it was an easy decision for me.”

Playing in the All-American Classic is a dream come true for Williams. Being selected with such an honor brings a certain vindication to a player who works tirelessly and has very high aspirations in baseball.

“It means a lot to me,” said Williams. “It’s been a dream of mine ever since I knew about it. When I heard, it was one of the more special moments I’ve had in my life so far. I’m ready to go out to San Diego and play with some of the best players in the country. I put in a ton of work. This is just the start for me, this is a stepping stone to get where I want to be in my career. This is really special for me and I’m going to go out there and compete.”

Coach Rhett Jones is very impressed with the demeanor and versatility that Williams brings to a team. He’s willing to play anywhere on the field and carries himself with a work ethic of a professional. Williams sets the standard for preparation and focus on the baseball field as his leadership definitely rubs off on teammates.

“He’s so versatile, I’ve had him catching and in the outfield,” said Jones. “He just breathes MLB. You can just look at the way he carries himself and picks up. Everything he does out there, you can just tell he has a bright future. With this tournament in Atlanta I’ve enjoyed getting to catch a guy as good as that. One day I hope to see him on TV.”

Williams exhibits his leadership on the diamond more than he does in the dugout. Not a typical vocal leader, Williams leads by example and by contributing in high leverage situations. He shows the mentality that any elite baseball player should have: he wants to be in the big situation, with the game on the line and to produce in the clutch.

“I bring energy and leadership,” said Williams. “I’m not really a ‘rah-rah’ guy but I lead by example. I like to be in the tough spots in clutch games and clutch situations. I can deliver in those tough spots.”

Growing up towards the end of the Bobby Cox Braves dynasty and living in the Atlanta area makes it very hard to not be a Braves fan. Williams has had a passion for baseball and watching baseball since before he could walk. His mother Melissa is extremely proud and is very happy that her son’s passions and hard work seem to be paying off with the recognition and attention he is receiving.

“It’s pretty amazing to see his hard work pay off like that,” said Melissa Williams. “He loves baseball. When you see your kid have a passion for something and then excel at that, it’s just a good feeling as a mom. He’ll have the opportunity to play among some elite players and that will be an awesome experience for him. He’s always played ball, even when he was in diapers he would sit in front of the TV mimicking the catcher for the Braves. His dad would hold a baseball out to the side of the chair, and Steven would get the wiffle ball bat and hit it and run the bases on the pillows in the playroom downstairs. That was when he was about two years old.

“We’ve just watched him grow up and play ball. For him to have that passion and to be able to have the opportunities that he has, not everyone gets that. I’m just excited for him and it’s exciting to see him work hard and love something so much.”

Williams now enters his senior year of high school with the plan set pretty straight forward. He’s at the point of his baseball career when he will begin to reap the benefits of all the time and hard work that he has put into the sport.

Williams wouldn’t characterize this upcoming year as a “victory lap” as there is still work to be done. Williams is one of the hardest working individuals in his class and he will continue to grind for the rest of his life. The challenges that lie ahead include the possibility of being drafted along with the realities and difficulties that come with playing in the SEC.

Those challenges are for next year, but for right now after the 17u PG EvoShield Classic wraps up, his sights will be set on San Diego. Williams has been playing alongside talented players his whole life but the All-American Classic brings together the most talented players in next year’s draft class. Williams will, of course, be focused on competing and working hard in the event, but he will also take some time to simply enjoy the moment.

“I’ve heard San Diego is one of the best places you can go in the United States,” said Williams. “It’s a really nice place and I’ve played with a bunch of guys that are going to be out there over the past few summers. I’m ready to go out there, have a good time, and play with some of the top players in the country.”

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