Donta’ Williams, a center fielder and lead-off hitter for the Arizona baseball team, is a Pac-12 Champion. The Cats won the title for only the fifth time in school history. Williams went 4-for-5 in his most recent outing against Oregon State securing the Pac-12 Championship win in the three-game series. Williams contributed to the win by securing two RBIs and having one run scored in.
Arizona finishes out the regular season this weekend vs. Dixie State before getting ready for the NCAA postseason.
Here is his interview on Fox Sports 1450’s Eye on the Ball:
(Transcribed by Justin Sternad)
- Q: Are you guy’s celebrating your Pac-12 Championship at all? How’s that been?
- Donta: “It’s definitely an unreal feeling. It’s my first time being here in four years and that kind of stuff, and you know I’m kind of getting used to this whole thing. We were able to be together as a team last night and celebrate the victory on the bus ride back to Portland which was really the only celebration we really got to do, but now it’s back to work. Time to get back to work, focus on the bigger picture and a bigger ring.”
- Q: Did you think it was possible to win as you started the season.?
- Donta: “Yeah, I mean our team is really talented so I wouldn’t count the Wildcats out of anything. We have a lot of guys that can do a lot of different things. (Sometimes) people go down and other people replace them. With all that adversity, we can do anything we can do.”
- Q: How did you guys prepare yourselves this year with COVID being involved and what motivation did you get out of it? How did that impact everything you guys have done since that to get to this point?
- Donta: “At the end of the day, I think it’s just not taking anything for granted. You know, given everything you have every day, every practice… in quarantine a lot of guys figuring out how to lift weights or figure out speed and agility stuff, hitting. It was just being able to maximize each hour or minute we have in a day and just not being able to take it for granted. I think that’s the message we all got from this pandemic, which has prepared us to go out from practice every day and maximize what we have.”
- Q: Did it impact you individually? You may not even have been here if it weren’t for the pandemic.
- Donta: “I did a lot of praying with my family, and a lot of talking about it with them and I’m just excited I’m back doing everything I can for my teammates and doing everything it takes to win, and my teammates are doing the same.”
- Q: What are some of the things older guys on the team are doing to help the younger guys that’s helping this production and team chemistry?
- Donta: “I think it’s just being good leaders. We have a lot of older guys that are really good leaders, whether that’s off the field, whether it has to deal with schoolwork and just being someone to talk to off the field. On the field, we also have a lot of tremendous leaders and lowerclassmen just look up to that. We have a really good foundation for all that.”
- Q: What is your mentality as a leadoff hitter, just get on? Create havoc when you’re on? What’s the mindset for you?
- Donta: “I see myself as an engine and they like to call me the Engine. My at bat dictates the start of the game, whether we’re hitting first, and I just create the pace, kind of. If I come out lead-off walks, see 10-12 pitches or something, it just gets the dugout fired up. It just takes me doing whatever I can to get my team going, doesn’t matter what it is. I could get hit by a pitch, hit a double, triple. Just got to be in the mindset.”
- Q: Is there an identity to this team?
- Donta: “We’re relentless. You could put a lot of words out there, but I think the relentless characteristic stands out to me the most. I see and hear a lot of people saying don’t count the Wildcat’s out and I stand by that.”
- Q: What is your routine like when you go up to bat?
- Donta: “Getting my mindset right first and getting my breath under control. I draw a cross in the dirt because I wouldn’t be in this place without the man above. I’ll play with the dirt and my bat and just focus on the pitch and the ones following it.”
- Q: Is there a player that you model yourself after if there is one? Or is there someone you use as an example for yourself?
- Donta: “Growing up, Ken Griffey Jr., ‘The Kid’. Right now, I kind of compare myself to Jackie Bradley Jr. He’s got great speed and great outfield and makes good catches, handles the bat really well, hits home runs and is just a threat on the bases.”
- Q: What brought you to Arizona to play for Johnson and the team?
- Donta: “I think I’ve known Coach Johnson for about seven or eight years when he was at San Diego and moved to Nevada and would get heavily recruited by him in like the eighth and ninth grade. He came to Arizona; it’s always been my dream school and it just worked out perfectly.”
- Q: Was there a moment in time when you realized that this team was going to be something special?
- Donta: “Yes, in the fall. It was one day in the weight room when I saw guys do their work out and kind of just stood to the side and realized that this team was special.”
- Q: How do you like covering center field at High Corbett field?
- Donta: “The only thing I hate about it is making a catch in left center field and having to run all the way back to the dugout. It’s phenomenal, I love the space and being able to run and you just sort of feel like you run endlessly and are never going to stop. It’s just a fun feeling being able to stand out there in center field and look at the fans in the stadium. It’s a great setting.”
For the complete interview with Steve & Jay on Eye on the Ball visit: https://www.iheart.com/podcast/1248-eye-on-the-ball-70788317/episode/eye-on-the-ball-monday-82911107/