Pineville’s Willis tosses a no-hitter to open up district play
PINEVILLE, La. (KALB) - Greg Willis has been one of those guys you can call on and rely on him to get the job done.
Last year, he was an outfielder. This year, he was one of the many Pineville Rebels that changed their position. Willis is a pitcher now and in his last outing, he threw a no-hitter for the Rebels against Ouachita. He did not do anything different before the game. Willis said he was just ready to play.
“I was just locked in,” said Willis. “I come in every game locked in and that game I felt like everything worked.”
Willis had to work on his game all off-season because of the position change. He said the warmups and the way the ball is thrown are all the things he had to get used to.
“All of this was different for me,” said Willis. “The way I had to train over the summer and being aware of the pitch count, it’s not like I’m out there waiting to catch a fly ball. I have to set the tone up on the mound.”
At the beginning of the season, Willis had to miss some time on the diamond because of a freak accident with a ball hitting his face.
“I was playing first base just waiting for some action,” said Willis. “Finally the ball comes my way, but it bounces off of the base and hits me right in the eye.”
The recovery process was tough. He could not wait to get cleared so he can go play again.
“It was just slow,” said Willis. “It took a while to get my groove back. As soon as the doctors allowed me to play again, it felt like being a kid at the candy store.”
Head coach Lane Noakes saw Willis’ athleticism when he was playing junior varsity last year and could not wait to plug him in with varsity.
“Well last year we threw a lot at him,” said Noakes. “But, we saw the potential he has. Willis is a big guy with a pretty good arm. The opportunity wasn’t there for him to pitch a lot last year because we were senior-heavy on the mound. This year we had roles to fill and he has thrown well in some big games for us so far.”
Willis said hopefully he can be remembered for all that he did at Pineville High School.
“I want people to know my name,” said Willis. “I just want to be an influence to other people, especially for the younger classmen that were around me.”
Willis’ no-hitter game and athleticism are the reasons he won ACA Athlete of the Week.
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