05/17/12 — Where there's a Will -- Bynum carves spot in starting lineup

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Where there's a Will -- Bynum carves spot in starting lineup

By Ryan Hanchett
Published in Sports on May 17, 2012 1:48 PM

Too often athletes choose colleges based on conditional factors and then realize that they are not happy after a year or two.

Will Bynum has no such worries. The sophomore is getting exactly what he signed up for at Mount Olive College.

"I came here because I wanted to play for a winning program," Bynum said following a recent practice. "From the first time I talked to Coach (Carl) Lancaster I knew that Mount Olive was going to be the best place for me."

Bynum will likely be in the lineup when the Trojans host the Southeast Regional beginning today. The former Greene Central standout has emerged as a viable option in right field over his second season in the green and white.

"It takes time for anybody to adjust going from high school to college," Mount Olive assistant coach Rob Watt said. "Will has gone from a guy who was trying to get in the groove at practice as a freshman to a guy that is making adjustments in the batter's box during games as a sophomore. In two years he has progressed a little bit faster than I think anyone expected."

During his high school career Bynum showed flashes of his potential in Snow Hill. He was named the Eastern Plains 2-A Conference most valuable player and made the all-conference list twice. His baseball IQ and his natural speed caught Watt's eye when he was the coach of the Wayne County Post 11 American Legion team.

"Will played for me over the summer and he didn't really have great numbers," Watt said. "But I think all of us coaches recognized the kind of ability he had and the kind of player he could grow into offensively."

Bynum did not play much during his freshman season. He worked hard in the fall and has earned playing time as both a starter and a reserve over 44 games in 2012.

"I want to help the team win first and foremost," Bynum said. "I want to be out there every day and I want to be able to produce at the plate when I get the chance."

So far this season Bynum has built a .352 batting average and delivered 26 RBI. The speedy sophomore has tallied 22 stolen bases in 25 attempts.

"In the nine spot in the batting order he gives us a little pop," Watt said. "He isn't the typical 'throw three strikes and move on' kind of hitter at the bottom of the lineup and with his speed he can put pressure on defenses by stealing a base."

Bynum has also played a stellar right field boasting 75 put-outs without an error.

"I can say that overall Will has come the farthest from last year to this year of anyone on the team," Watt said. "That is a credit to his willingness to work hard and to listen to the people trying to help him."