Hill pulls double duty with tennis, baseball for APA
Arendell Parrott Academy’s William Hill has been busy this spring season, participating in tennis and baseball for the Patriots. Both teams currently have winning records and high postseason hopes. Photo by Junious Smith III / Neuse News
William Hill is trying to help Arendell Parrott Academy raise two title banners this spring.
Hill was the lone returning tennis singles player on last year’s NCISAA state runner-up roster, which finished 17-2. The team hasn’t lost a step despite losing five players, winning its fourth straight conference championship after defeating Raleigh St. David’s Thursday to improve to 13-2 on the season. Hill has played with APA since seventh grade and the team’s No. 1 said each player continues to work hard to prove doubters wrong.
“It’s different losing so many guys, but we’ve still got some really good players,” Hill said. “I know there weren’t many expectations of us to do well — people thought weren’t going to do well in conference — but we’ve already done more than what anyone thought we could.”
APA tennis coach Donald Clark had high praise for his senior captain.
“Will is someone who leads by both example and actions,” Clark said. “You find out a lot about someone’s character in times of adversity and even though we lost five starters on one of the best teams in North Carolina, we’ve been able to have a remarkable season so far.
“From Day 1, he’s never talked about last year — it was all about encouraging his younger teammates and helping them to what we’ve been able to accomplish this season.”
Hill is also a relief pitcher for the school’s baseball team, a role he’s filled since last season. The Patriots have already clinched their ninth consecutive double-digit win season and are currently 11-7. Hill played baseball growing up, but relinquished it for tennis, jumping back into the fray considering the need.
“Last year, we talked about doing baseball because he was the only left-handed kid we had who could throw in high school,” Parrott baseball coach Robert Kravitz said. “I think he’s got one of the better arms on the team and it gives opponents a different look when they have to face a left-handed pitcher. I know tennis is his primary sport and I’m definitely not trying to pull him away from that — if he can help us out in baseball, we’ll definitely take it.
“He’s in good hands with Coach Clark, who’s arguably the best tennis coach in North Carolina, so whenever he can pitch for us we’re happy to get him out there.”
Hill said the conversation about playing both sports started lighthearted, but it got serious in his junior year.
“I had been thinking about playing for a couple of years and jokingly talked about it,” Hill said. “Last year, I decided to give it a shot and talked to Coach Clark about it. He agreed to it, and Coach Kravitz was able to get permission from the conference to let me play both.
“Tennis is my main sport and I’ve played it since the seventh grade. No matter what, I’m going to choose tennis over baseball, but if I’m able to play both sports that day, I will. Usually, tennis matches start around 3:30 p.m. and baseball games start around 7 p.m., so I can do both.”
Clark said it was never an issue.
“I had coached baseball for nine years before tennis, so I understood the passion,” Clark said. “He told me tennis would remain his main sport and I’ve never had a problem with him over the past two years. He’s made every practice and game we’ve needed him to, and there were times where I’d encourage him to go play baseball. He’s balanced everything to the best of his abilities.”
Overall, the Patriots have high hopes and Hill wants to assist where he can.
“I hope to keep playing baseball, and hopefully we can go far in the playoffs for both sports,” Hill said.