The Interrogation Room: Mark Williams

Mark Williams and Rafael Neda congratulate each other after a win over Kane County on May 19, 2012. (Ann Mollica/Wisconsin Timber Rattlers)

By Chris Mehring / Wisconsin Timber Rattlers | December 19, 2012 7:34 AM ET

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Mark 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.

Q: You 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.

Q: We 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.

Q: Later 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.

Q: Your 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 effort.

Q: You 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.

Q: You 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 that?

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.  

Q: The 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 in 2013?

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?

MW:  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.

Q:  How are you spending the holiday season?

MW: Nothing 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:

Rafael Neda

Chad Pierce

Chadwin Stang

Nick Bucci

Reggie Keen

Jimmy Nelson

Jason Rogers

Nick Shaw

Matt Erickson

Scooter Gennett

Kyle Heckathorn

Dusty Rhodes

Jim Henderson

Chris Hook

Jeff Isom

Cory Kemp

Brock Kjeldgaard

Erik Miller

Cody Scarpetta

Bill Smith

This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.

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