Williams, Thompson put Fightins on brink

Phils' No. 3 prospect goes yard, ace earns second EL playoff victory

Nick Williams hit 17 homers and stole 13 bases over the course of 119 Minor League games. (Patrick Cavey/MiLB.com)

By Robert Emrich / MiLB.com | September 17, 2015 11:36 PM

This postseason, Nick Williams has continued to make his presence known, whether it be with his glove or his bat. Thursday was no exception.

The Phillies' No. 3 prospect homered and plated a pair of runs as Double-A Reading beat Bowie, 9-3, to move within a win of claiming the Eastern League title.

After flying out and grounding out in his first two at-bats, Williams led off the fifth inning with a home run over the left-center field wall of Prince George's Stadium. The 22-year-old outfielder added an RBI single to center an inning later and came around to score on Andrew Knapp's two-run double lo left.

"I feel good," Williams said. "Early on in the game, I just wanted to be responsible for the team, move runners over. I don't really care about how I do, results-wise. I just want to do anything to get runs in. I was leading off the inning, I just wanted to get a good pitch to hit, hit something hard and it just happened to go really, really far."

Williams has enjoyed a strong playoff campaign, batting .290 with three homers and five RBIs in six postseason games for the Fightin Phils. The Texas native's contributions haven't just been limited to the bat, however. He's made several strong plays in center field, including one Tuesday that pitcher Zach Eflin said "saved the game."

"This year, I think I've done a great job defensive-wise," MLB.com's No. 59 prospect said. "I've been feeling great, especially in these playoffs. I feel like whatever's needed to do to keep our pitchers in the game and their pitches down, I'm willing to do."

Another contributor to Reading's strong playoff run has been the club's No. 2 prospect, Jake Thompson, who picked up his second win of the fall after giving up a run on four hits while fanning five and walking three over seven innings.

"That today, is what I call Jake Thompson doing Jake Thompson things," said Williams, who came over from Texas at the trade deadline with Thompson. "Thompson has been nasty, I can see his movement, it's like no other. Tonight just proves how great Thompson is on the mound."

A day after losing its first playoff game of 2015, Williams said Reading said the club was "extremely excited " to move to within a win of its first championship since 2001.

"Especially losing at home and coming in and winning by a great margin," Williams said. "Our bats are alive, our pitching has been great, we're just making a statement now."

Harold Martinez drove in a pair of runs while Phillies' top prospect J.P. Crawford added two hits, an RBI and a run for the Fightin Phils.

Tucker Nathans homered for the Baysox, who host Game 4 on Friday.

Robert Emrich is a contributor to MiLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @RobertEmrich.nic This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.

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