It's only 10 days until the Western Carolina Baseball team takes the field at Hennon Stadium for the first pitch against the Chicago State Cougars to open the 2020 baseball season. Let's take this time to meet this season's Cats with Bats.
We will highlight them by class, starting with the seniors and ending with the brand new freshmen Catamounts.
#5 Will Prater
HOMETOWN Dallas, Ga.
HIGH SCHOOL East Paulding HS
2019 (Sophomore): Played in all 53 of the team’s games with 52 starts including 42 starts at second base and 10 at shortstop … Batted .282 on the year with 58 hits including 14 for extra bases including 10 doubles, three triples and a home run … Finished the season with 19 multiple-hit games and five multi-RBI outings … Enjoyed a career-long, 8-game hitting streak in early March, accumulating seven, multi-hit games during that stretch … Tallied a career-high three hits four times – three during the eight-game hitting streak … Doubled twice in the season-opener against Oakland (Feb. 15) … Tallied two hits including a double in the home win over Elon (March 15) … Legged out a run-scoring triple in the home win over Wofford (April 6) … Belted his first collegiate home run against VMI (April 27) … Finished 4-for-12 (.333) with four RBI to earn SoCon All-Tournament Team honors at second base.
2018 (Freshman): Played in 55 of the team’s 58 games on the season with 49 starts in the infield including 38 at second base and 11 at shortstop … Finished the year with a .293 batting average, collecting 54 hits in 184 plate appearances … Had five extra-base hits including four doubles and a triple … Drew 18 walks against 49 strikeouts … Made his collegiate debut as a pinch hitter in the season-opener at East Carolina (Feb. 16) … Collected his first career base hit as a part of the first multi-hit game of his career in the series finale at ECU (Feb. 18), finishing 2-for-2 in a pinch-hit / defensive substitution role … Made his first career start in the home-opener against Morehead State (Feb. 20), tallying his second-straight multi-hit game in a 2-for-3 showing at the plate while starting at shortstop … Finished rookie season with 17 multiple hit games … Tallied his first extra-base hit with a double as a part of a two-hit outing against nationally-ranked Kentucky (April 11) … Tallied a double and a triple in the series against ETSU in Cullowhee … Was a part of turning a team-high 23 double-plays in the infield this season ... Named to the 2018 Southern Conference All-Freshman team; Summer League: Played in 27 games for the Lake Erie Monarchs of the Great Lakes Summer Collegiate League … Finished second on the team with a .314 batting average, collecting 32 hits in 102 at-bats with five doubles and a home run adding 12 walks … Drove in five runs while scoring a team-high 26 runs … Stole six bases.
Prior to Western Carolina: Multi-sport athlete who pitched and played the infield in high school ... Two-time all-region as an infielder, collecting all-state honors a senior ... Was tabbed the region player of the year as a senior ... Also played basketball as a prep, averaging nearly 15 points per game as a senior.
Personal: Full name is William Michael Prater ... Is the son of Lisa and Sam Prater ... Has a sister, Sarah ... His father, Sam, played college golf at Kennesaw State.
Courtesy WCU Athletics Media Relations