Baseball

The Hammer is here to play

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Texas third baseman Cam Williams really wants to live up to his nickname.

Known to those within the program simply as “Hammer,” there are plenty of reminders in the Longhorn clubhouse concerning his preferred nomenclature.

“He’s got hammers in his locker,” Texas head coach David Pierce said Thursday. “He’s got sledgehammers. He’s got flat paddles. Like, you need to just get rid of all that stuff and just go hit. But he’s so innovative and wants to figure out a little edge so he can be great.”

Williams said Thursday his nickname was given to him by his father when he was a kid in Tampa, Fla.

“I love to hit,” Williams said. “That’s what I love to do, so he started calling me the Hammer.”

Hitting hasn’t been easy for most of the Longhorn baseball team this season, and Williams is not immune to the struggles within the program. He currently has a .239 batting average paired with a .364 on-base percentage.

But compared to last year, Williams is much more of a threat for extra bases in 2021. He’s slugging .565. Six of his 11 hits this year are doubles. Three are home runs.

Pierce has penciled him into various places in the batting order. For some players, that matters. Not to Williams.

“Give me a bat,” Williams said. “Give me a time at the plate. Let me drive in some runs and help the team win.”

Williams, originally from Gaither High School in Odessa, Fla., attended Dallas Baptist in 2017 before transferring to San Jacinto College.

Assistant coach Sean Allen saw Williams play shortstop in a San Jac game against Blinn and thought his bat could play at the Division I level. There were other questions about his game, specifically regarding his fielding ability.

Luckily, when Williams arrived at Texas, there was a five-time MLB All-Star ready to coach him.

“We went ahead and took a chance on him because we liked his makeup and we liked his swing,” Pierce said. “We liked his mind so much, and then we introduced him to Troy Tulowitzki and said he’s got to throw the ball straight.”

Tulowitzki made a major impact on Williams’ career. The thing about playing for a newly retired MLB shortstop is he can show exactly how to play on the left side of the infield.

“Having Troy Tulowitzki and Coach Pierce and all the other coaches here to help me, that’s just that much more to help me out,” Williams said. “I’m never going to stop getting better as far as I see it.”

Baseball has always been his focus. Pierce mentioned Williams doesn’t pay much attention to basketball or football. It’s all about hardball.

“Everything he tells you about ‘grinding’ and ‘I love this stuff,’ it’s every day,” Pierce said. “It’s crazy.”

Hear it from Williams himself. There’s a drive to be the best he can be that won’t stop any time soon.

“Every day, since I’ve wanted to play baseball, it’s just trying to get a little bit better every day,” Williams said. “Fortunately, I’ve come to a place where these guys can help me. I’ve always had the belief that I can be whatever I want it to be and always believe that I could be the best.”