Jordan Williams, who made a stunning debut as a freshman in 2012, suffered through injury and control problems afterward then came through in the clutch again in the 2014 post-season, signed a letter of intent to continue her education and softball career under scholarship at the University of Arkansas-Monticello on Wednesday.
As might be expected, Williams figures to be a crucial component to the Bryant Lady Hornets’ 2015 season.
The daughter of Gary and Cheryl Williams, Jordan has been a part of Bryant teams that have posted a 59-20 record over three years including a conference championship, a State tile and a 34-0 mark during that 2012 run.
During that championship campaign, which produced the program’s third consecutive State crown, Bryant’s senior pitcher Peyton Jenkins, who was later named Gatorade Player of the Year in Arkansas, suffered a knee injury during the team’s semifinal victory. Lady Hornets head coach Debbie Clark turned to Williams to finish out that game, which she did successfully. And after Jenkins returned to pitch in the title game in Fayetteville, Williams took over again and picked up the win in relief.
“She didn’t have time to be nervous,” Clark said in a release given out on Wednesday. “She responded just as we thought she would.
“She practiced the following week (prior to the championship game) with the attitude ‘the championship is Peyton’s but I will be ready to do what is necessary for the team.’ And do it, she did. We asked Jordan to go out to the circle in a very tough situation. He teammates rallied around her.”
Fast forward to the first round of State in 2014. The Lady Hornets were battling Fort Smith Southside, tied 2-2. Williams was called on to relieve and pitched shutout ball over the final five innings, allowing just three hits while striking out seven. The Lady Hornets rallied for a 5-2 win.
“There were so many expectations for Jordan her sophomore year,” Clark recalled. “We had seen what she could do. But injuries kept her out of the circle. She has so many strengths as a leader and player. We were able to use her in the outfield and as a hitter.”
She wound up with a .400 average, a .562 on-base percentage, a .455 slugging percentage, 11 runs batted in with 11 runs scored in 2014. Williams earned all-conference honorable mention and was chosen to play in the 2014 Junior Classic.
“Jordan has a great work ethic and realizes it takes more than just practice with the team to move from good to great,” Clark related. “We expect her to continue to lead and to impact our offensive strategy this year. Though she has been plagued by injuries since her freshman season, she seems to have found her place in the outfield and at the plate. We are very excited that Coach (Alvy) Early recognized her talent and wants her to play at UAM.”
Williams attended a camp at UAM her sophomore year.
“She fell in love with the program and the campus,” Clark said. “Jordan impressed the UAM coaching staff with her power.”
She plans to major in Science and wants to be a coach.
Reflecting on that freshman season and her struggles as a sophomore, Clark said, “So many players, regardless of their class, regardless of who is in front of them on the depth chart, have a chip on their shoulders and think they should be playing. They feel entitled just because. Jordan never displayed that attitude and I think much of that is because of her parents and the discipline they instilled in her.”