Andi Williamson is about to embark on a new journey in her softball career. Although she will still be playing the game that she has grown to know and love, she will now be playing oversees. Andi played college ball at Marshall University and was a Rookie in the National Pro Fastpitch league with the Chicago Bandits last summer. I had the opportunity to coach Andi while at Marshall and she is one of the most competitive athletes I have ever been around. She is one of those athletes that are a joy to watch. She is a hard worker and gives her best when on the mound and expects the same from her teammates. Andi has been successful at every level in her career and I’m sure will prove to be just that in Japan as well. Although she will be pitching with the same ball and playing with the same rules; her experience will be quite different. In Japan, the professional league is run more like a business and she will have practice with typical 9-5 hours. As only 1 of 2 Americans on the team, this excursion will sure be an exciting one for the West Virginia native. I was able to ask Andi a few questions before she leaves for Japan in just a few days.
What are you most excited about playing in Japan?
I am just excited to experience the game in a new culture, to see how it is played over there, and hopefully I will get the chance to learn something new about the game that I can bring back here.
What is going to be the biggest adjustment for you?
The hardest part for me will be being away from my family. I am so close to them so it will be a big adjustment for me to be that far away from them.
You were Rookie of the Year and an All Star in the National Pro Fastpitch league. What was your biggest adjustment going from playing at Marshall to playing professionally with the Chicago Bandits?
Honestly I didn't really have to change that much, I just had to stay within myself and trust my pitches. The hitters are strong one through nine so I had to make sure I was very precise when pitching, because in the league you can't make too many mistakes and get away with it.
To date, what was your most memorable and exciting softball experience?
Definitely winning Conference Championship with Marshall, that will always be one of my most cherished memories.
Any words or phrases that you live by and take to the field with you?
I always stick to the bible verse Philippians 4:13--I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. So if I'm ever struggling or anything I use that to help me get back in my zone.
What advice do you have for young athletes?
You will have failures and setbacks but don't use them as negatives and let them get you down, use them as motivation to improve and achieve your goals. Never give up on your dreams because if you believe and work hard anything is possible!
GOOD LUCK TO MY FRIEND ANDI!!!
Amanda Williams is a National Pro Fastpitch (NPF) All Star playing with the Chicago Bandits, Rockford Thunder and the Tennessee Diamonds. She is a former four-year starter in center field for Marshall University and also coachedfor the Thundering Herd for 7 years.