College Podcast: HiToms Coach Mickey Williard Discusses Odd Summer
On this episode of the Baseball America College Podcast, Teddy Cahill and Joe Healy are joined by High Point-Thomasville HiToms coach Mickey Williard to discuss his first summer coaching in the Coastal Plain League.
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The HiToms are the most talented team in the CPL this year, and they're one of the most talented teams playing this summer in any league.
The uncertainty surrounding summer ball for much of the spring undoubtedly helped the HiToms because the sheer volume of high-end talent on the roster from the region is staggering. That includes the Wake Forest trio of righthanders Ryan Cusick and Shane Smith and shortstop Michael Turconi, Duke shortstop Ethan Murray and Duke catcher Rudy Maxwell, Virginia third baseman Zack Gelof and Clemson outfielder Kier Meredith. Many, if not all, of those players would be playing summer ball in a higher-profile league if this were a normal year.
Cusick has been a standout thus far, which has increased confidence about his ability to follow in Wake Forest teammate Jared Shuster's footsteps as a first-round pick. In 18 innings this summer, Cusick has a 1.50 ERA with 32 strikeouts, seven walks and nine hits allowed. In Cusick's starts, his velocity has held in the mid 90s through to the middle innings, and while his slider hasn't been as consistent, it has flashed as a dangerous weapon in his repertoire.
One star for the HiToms outside of those familiar names is UNC-Greensboro's Hogan WIndish. A versatile defensive player who can handle second base, third base and the outfield, Windish has been scalding hot at the plate so far and was hitting nearly .500 going into last weekend.
Meredith was off to a hot start at Clemson in the spring and had to be disappointed to have a promising season cut short. With run times to first base under four seconds, doubles in a little over eight seconds and solid contact all around this summer, he has done little to dampen the excitement about his game that was held over from March.
Among the topics discussed on this podcast are:
- How Williard had to adjust his expectations for this season based on the unique circumstances
- The safety protocols the team follows day to day to ensure they can continue to play
- How the HiToms' roster took shape as the spring unfolded
- The comparison of the CPL now to when Williard competed in the CPL as a player
- What he's seen from Ryan Cusick so far, and if Cusick's Wake Forest teammate Shane Smith is undervalued
- His thoughts on Hogan Windish's hot start, Zach Gelof and what Kier Meredith needs to do in order to put it all together for a full season at Clemson