Julian Williams Is A Tough Out

Julian Williams might not have the best of batting averages, but he knows how to get on base. The Lakewood BlueClaws outfielder is making a reputation for himself for his ability to get on base and make things happen.

Much like his favorite movie, Gladiator, Lakewood BlueClaws' center fielder, Julian Williams is a fighter at the plate. Williams' batting average won't make it to the top of any South Atlantic League record books, but he sure gets his money's worth with every at bat. Every time Williams steps to the plate he gives himself the best chance to get on base and when he does his speed and instinct on the bases frustrate the competition. As a testament to Williams' scrappy nature at the plate the BlueClaws' center fielder put together a 54 game home on base streak. Unfortunately that streak came to an end Friday night in Lakewood but the streak was impressive nonetheless.

Williams bats ninth in the BlueClaws lineup and is used as a second lead off man by Manager Steve Roadcap. "Julian is like a second lead off man, he has a great eye, creates havoc on the bases and causes opposing pitchers to lose focus on the hitters." Williams did just that Saturday afternoon against the Hagerstown Suns. He was 1-for-2 with a double and two walks. He also scored three runs and stole a base. It was just another game for Williams, " I go out there everyday and play hard, I see as many pitches as I can and put together good at bats," said Williams. While Williams is only batting .200 on the year, his on-base percentage is .405. He's walked 10 times and scored 10 runs through the first 12 games of the season.

Apparently the BlueClaws fans, staff, and press were caught up in Williams' streak more than he was. "I thought the streak ended last year, I didn't pay all that much attention to it," said the humble Williams. The streak was a topic of discussion during every home game of the year in the press box and around the stadium. Williams is a familiar face at FirstEnergy Park and a fan favorite as he was part of last year's South Atlantic League Championship team. As part of that pennant drive, Williams reached base safely in 50 straight home games and carried the streak over to this year. The closest streak in the SAL last year was 36 games accomplished by Jason Mooneyham of the Columbus Catfish. Williams' streak reached 54 games before his 0-for-1 night against Delmarva Friday night, in what wasn't a full night's work for Williams, who entered the game in the eighth inning as a defensive replacement. He failed to get on base in his only at bat, but did drive in a run with an RBI ground out. It was tough way to end his streak, but Williams' only concern was winning the game "I didn't think about the streak, I went in to give my team the best chance of winning." Williams started a new streak on Saturday and only has 53 more games to go to match his previous streak. If anyone has a chance to do it, it's Julian Williams.

Although Williams got back on track Saturday, the BlueClaws failed to do so. Lakewood lost their third straight one-run game. "I'm looking to make this a positive, these guys are young and they have to learn to win, it's part of the game" said Steve Roadcap on his team's inability to win the close game. The bullpen let the team down for the second straight game. Friday night's starter Carlos Monasterios pitched a great game and Saturday's starter Darren Byrd put in a solid effort. Both starters left with the lead, but watched from the bench as the bullpen let that lead slip away. The BlueClaws are currently 5-7 on the season.

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