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Williams filled many roles on the Timber Rattlers pitching staff during the 2012
season. He was involved in many
great moments during the year, too.
In the final edition of The Interrogation
Room of this year, Mark answers questions about his season, his highlights,
and how he is preparing for 2013. Plus,
see his story about the Western Division Finals clinching win against Clinton.
The Interrogation Room: How did you think that your 2012 season went?
Mark Williams: I thought the season as a
whole went very well. There were some ups and downs especially right after the All-Star
break. But I was very happy with how it started and how it finished. There were
a lot of things that I learned from and had to adjust on the run. But it was a
very good first full season.
went from the rotation to relieving in tandem with Chad Thompson to the rotation
to the bullpen and back into the rotation during the year? How did you
stay focused on doing your job?
MW: You know it really wasn't that hard for me to switch back and forth from
bullpen to the rotation because I had done it quite a bit in college and I was
pretty used to it. I actually saw it as an advantage for me because not one team
really saw me in the same role more than once. I saw more of an advantage or
opportunity to succeed.
have talked about it before, but your combined no-hitter with Thompson in
Clinton on May 4 is a pretty big highlight. Would you take us through that
last inning and what you were thinking as you got the strikeout to end the game?
MW: I thought the inning went really easy
for me because of the 8th inning where I really struggled and battled
a full count almost every batter that inning. I felt really confident going into
the 9th. I was excited to get the inning over with and enjoy the
accomplishment with my team. That last batter felt like it took forever though.
It felt like it took a minute for every pitch to get to the plate. But the
feeling after the strike out was amazing and I knew that Thompson, the team, and
myself had accomplished something that doesn't happen often.
in the season, you had a complete game shutout with 11 strikeouts in the second
game of a doubleheader against Cedar Rapids. What was clicking for you on
that day to put you in the groove?
MW: Well for one it was my first start
back from the bullpen and I was really trying to go as far as I could to relax
our bullpen. I knew going into the game that Cedar Rapids had trouble timing my
change up so that was [Rafael] Neda and my game plan. My fastball had good
movement and the change up had great sink on it. Establishing that change up
early really got me in the groove and I just took off from there.
start in the playoffs was in Game Two of the Western Division Finals against
Clinton. The LumberKings scored two runs in the first inning, but the
offense came back to score two runs in the bottom of the first inning on a home
run by Nick Ramirez to tie the game. How big was that swing of the bat for
the team and for you?
MW: It was huge for us. We were down and I
was frustrated that I gave up a lead early. Nick's home run gave the whole
team a boost and it gave me the confidence to collect myself and make sure I
didn't let the team down again. And that's what happened. The change up was
good again and got a lot of ground balls that game. It was a special team
went eight innings in that game against Clinton. Was there any discussion
about sending you back out there for the ninth inning to close out the series?
MW: Hahaha That's funny that you ask
that. Because I saw Manzo [Santo Manzanillo] warming up in the 8th
and I had a feeling that they would put him in for the 9th. So after
the 8th I went up in the tunnel and hid from Chavy [Pitching Coach
David Chavarria] until that bottom half was over.
Then, I went and grabbed my glove and started back onto the field, and
Chavy and Matty [Manager Matt Erickson] stopped me and said I was done. But I
tried to get back out there for the 9th.
were in the stands during Game Four at Fort Wayne. One thing that I
noticed during the season is that you were one of the quickest guys to get to
the celebration after walkoff wins. You also got out of the stands pretty
fast after the final out of the Championship Series. How can you explain
MW: Haha Well, as we got closer and closer
I was getting more and more anxious just hoping that we could get out on to the
field fast enough. When we got that last out, I think I fell over a couple
people and it was kinda hard to get down there on the field, but once I got down
there it was amazing to celebrate with those guys not only the championship but
also everything that we had accomplished as a team.
Milwaukee Brewers selected pitcher Austin Blaski, your teammate at Marietta
College, in the 21st round of the 2012 draft. What kind of
pitcher will fans in Northeastern Wisconsin see in him if he is a Timber Rattler
MW: He is a really good pitcher, fastball
in the low to mid 90's with a very, very hard slider. He's a pretty skinny
guy but about 6'5". I think the fans are going to love him. Assuming he's
a starter there they're always going to see a solid game out of him, and
he'll lead the team to a good number of wins.
Q: He has been
to the Fox Cities before as a back-to-back NCAA Division III College World
Series Champion, but have you given him a scouting report on life in the area
during the pro baseball season?
MW: I basically told him that the people love their Rattlers in Wisconsin,
but told him it was a beautiful area and I really liked being in Wisconsin this
year. It's a great off the field environment with a lot to do.
Q: Has there been a particular part of your game that you have been working on
since the season ended?
First thing is that I've lost 15 lbs since the season had ended and
I've really worked on getting my core stronger. The core may have been the
weakest thing for me last year and I really want that to be a strong point for
me this year.
How are you spending the holiday season?
really exciting... I work 40 hours a week at MPI in Wisconsin, work out 5 days a
week, and spend my weekends in Northern Wisconsin. I've really enjoyed being
able to live Wisconsin and work. It's been a great experience, but I'm ready
for the 2013 season to begin.
Thanks for stepping into The Interrogation Room, Mark. And
congratulations on living in the greatest state in the Union this off
season! We name you an Honorary Cheesehead!
Thank you all for reading this feature. We
will return after the holidays. There
are some great interviews lined up with more with members of the 2012 Midwest
League Champion Timber Rattlers.
The Interrogation Room Files:
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.