Iowa baseball’s Peyton Williams sees success in the Northwoods League

The Iowa first baseman played in 33 games for the Waterloo Bucks and was named to the Northwoods League’s postseason all-star list as well as the Bucks Player of the Year.


Nichole Harris

Iowa first baseman Peyton Williams grins during a baseball game between the Iowa Hawkeyes and the Kansas Jayhawks on Tuesday, March 10, at Duane Banks Field. The Hawkeyes defeated the Jayhawks, 8-0.

Chloe Peterson, Sports Reporter

Iowa baseball first baseman Peyton Williams made an impact with his time on the Waterloo Bucks, a collegiate summer team in the Northwoods League. Williams made the league postseason all-star list and was named his team’s Player of the Year.

In 33 games for the Bucks, he held a .304 batting average with 35 hits, 13 of those being home runs. He also achieved a 1.076 OPS. The Bucks went 28-14 in the season, winning the Iowa-Minnesota regional championship.

Williams isn’t focusing too much on the awards he is racking up, but more on the experiences he’s getting on the field.

“The Northwoods League was a good experience because it let me play good competition every single day, and it really let me experience playing that many days and seeing what baseball is really like,” Williams said. “I wasn’t really thinking [about the awards], just having fun and making the most of it paid off.”

Iowa baseball head coach Rick Heller was excited to see Williams’ success over the summer, especially after the first baseman hurt his back at the beginning of the eventually canceled collegiate season. Heller said the injury gave Williams a bit of a slow start to the season after he had to miss a couple games. After he came back, he was a great asset to the team.

“He was off to a great start with us, before it got shut down,” the coach said. “He was playing extremely well for a true freshman, and we obviously had high expectations for Peyton coming into the program. We felt that he was capable of being an impact player as a freshman, and it was just great to see him go out and have the kind of summer that he had… For him to tear it up as he did, and hit that many home runs in such a short summer season, was really impressive.”

Williams started 15 games for the Hawkeyes in 2020 before the season was canceled because of COVID-19. He posted a .298 batting average with two homers and an 11-game hitting streak to end the shortened season.

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The majority of Iowa baseball team, especially position players, enter a collegiate league each summer, Heller said. It is crucial for player development and preparing for the MLB draft.

While the Bucks fielded players from around the country, four UI players joined Williams on the Bucks team: catchers Tyler Snep and Brett McCleary and pitchers Jack Radford and Duncan Devitt. Williams said he was grateful to have some sense of familiarity when going onto a new team.

“Obviously I was close with my teammates,” he said. “But I was able to get a little closer with them. It was kind of easier having some guys that I knew.”

Iowa baseball starts practices again this week, and Williams will come into practice surrounded by high expectations.

Heller said that he sees a future for the first baseman in professional baseball, and potentially even the major leagues.

“I definitely see Peyton being able to play professional baseball, and I think he has the ability to make it to the major leagues,” Heller said. “There’s no doubt that he has professional abilities.”