Time to shine: Hartselle's Williamson having standout year

Apr. 10—HARTSELLE — This time next year, Hartselle's JoJo Williamson will be playing baseball for the University of Alabama.

Normally, being signed to an SEC school would guarantee you're the top dog on whatever high school you play for. That is, unless of course you play at Hartselle.

Hartselle is one of the top baseball programs in the state, having won nine state championships since 1990. Along the way the Tigers have produced plenty of star players. However, the run of talent the school has seen recently might be the best the program has ever seen.

In the last four years, Hartselle has had nine players sign Division I scholarships. With that much talent, it can be hard to separate yourself from the pack.

This season, Williamson is doing just that.

So far this year Williamson leads the team with a .418 batting average. He's hit a team high 41 RBIs, five home runs and is batting .458 with runners in scoring position.

"I would say things have been going my way this year, maybe a little bit better than usual," Williamson said.

Being an SEC baseball signee, it seems wrong to say that Williamson has been overlooked at times, but that's never been the case for his team.

"There's probably been people outside the program that have overlooked him, but we never have," Hartselle coach Jake Miles said. "I wish we could pull back the curtain and let people see behinds the scenes all the work he puts in, not just for himself, but to help the team."

There's no denying that Williamson is having the best season of his career so far though. After fellow Alabama signee Peyton Steele slowly worked his way back from a football injury, Williamson took the reigns and never looked back.

"It feels like every time he steps to the plate he's going to come through," Miles said. "I know that's unrealistic, but that's just the type of year he's having."

While some players may like the spotlight always on them, Williamson said a big reason he's having a good a year as he is has been because he's shared the field with so many talented players.

"Everyday it's a challenge. Every guy expects more from you each day," Williamson said. "I couldn't have asked to for a better situation than I've had."

Williamson said it was the reason he came to Hartselle in eighth grade.

"Hartselle is great at baseball," Williamson said. "I can't say I expected to play with as many Division I guys as I have, but it's not surprising. This is just a great place to be."

Williamson has started every year since he was a freshman. In that span he's been a part of a state runner-up team (2021), a state championship team (2022) and a state quarterfinals team (2023).

He hopes to be a part of Hartselle's 10th championship team.

"We're always looking for a blue map here, but I feel like now more than ever, it's something we really want to achieve," Williamson said. "There's been a lot of great players, a lot of great senior classes, come through here and we feel like ours is up there with the best. This is our chance to go prove it." or 256-340-2395. Twitter @CalebSuggs2