Wingnuts outfielder Eric Williams came to bat in a pressure situation against Grand Prairie on July 9. He hadn't had a plate appearance four five days and wouldn't have another one for more than a week.
He was ready, though. He proved it by delivering a pinch-hit single in the ninth before the Wingnuts won in extra innings.
Williams has had to be ready for just about everything this season. He was released at the end of spring training, brought back three games in, and has seen his role change several times.
Like Williams, infielder Jake Bradshaw is also back on the roster after being released. During a season of seemingly constant change, no player can get settled. That has been especially true for Williams and Bradshaw.
"The thing with independent baseball, I don't think you should ever be comfortable," Williams said. "They say independent contracts are renewed hourly, basically, so I don't think you should ever feel too comfortable with your spot."
Williams was forced off the roster out of spring training because he didn't win a starting outfield position and couldn't serve as the utility player because, as a left-handed thrower, he can't play any infield position except first base.
When Kennard Bibbs was released after three games, Williams was re-signed, and he was the starting left fielder for more than a month.
July brought sweeping changes to the roster, though, and Williams was one of many affected. The addition of veteran outfielders Jackson Melian and Jorge Cortes pushed Williams to the bench.
That's where he was until Melian left the team this week, and now Williams is starting in left field again. He's batted Nos. 1, 2, 8 and 9 and played left and center field.
"I come to the ballpark ready to try to help any way I can," Williams said. "I've had conversations with (manager Kevin Hooper) where he's told me my role and I have to accept it. I just try to help the team any way I can, whether it be pinch-running, pinch-hitting, and I come to the ballpark thinking accordingly."
Bradshaw was an emergency signing after infielder Jose Duran was injured. An injury has helped bring him back, too — all-star shortstop Josh Horn is on the disabled list with a lower-body injury.
A rookie like Williams, Bradshaw played in five games before he was released on July 3 in favor of Rene Ruiz. Hooper had previously expressed interest in bringing Bradshaw back if the need arose.
"You definitely have that gut feeling that he's just saying that because he doesn't want to be a bad guy," Bradshaw said. "They want to say nice things when they let you go, but it's something in the back of your head that it's not going to happen."
It remains to be seen whether Williams and Bradshaw will survive the remainder of a season full of roster moves. But their presence on the team in late July seems improbable.
"There's definitely never any comfort," Bradshaw said. "There's never a reason to be comfortable, especially as a fill-in guy for them last time. You never know if they're making phone calls, you don't know what they're thinking. As long as I'm in the lineup that day, I have to enjoy it because I don't know when it will end."
Benefit for Carl Hall on Saturday — The Wingnuts will host Carl Hall Benefit Night this Saturday against St. Paul.
Hall, a former WSU standout, was paralyzed in a car accident last month.
Two dollars from every ticket sold will go to the Carl Hall Family Benefit Fund, and a "Carl Hall Special" is being offered for the game where fans can purchase Lower Box seats for $10 (usually $12) and Upper Chairback seats for $8 (usually $9). Tickets must be purchased in advance.