Former Pioneer first baseman and former Bryan College catcher Will Cantrell has a storied history playing baseball – and he still has some playing left in him.
Cantrell is a 2019 Warren County High School graduate who started at Bryan College that fall. His first collegiate baseball season began right before the pandemic.
“We played five games,” he said, “and we were told to go home.”
Cantrell didn’t get much playing time that first year, but he has played for the Lions in subsequent years where he played catcher. As a longtime first baseman, this was an adjustment.
“I’ve played first my whole life,” said Cantrell, who prefers playing first. “I know it sounds weird, but I can see the field better from first.”
He also mentioned first base is less taxing on the body, plus that’s the position where he started.
Cantrell started the sport at age 4 and was a high achiever at an early age. He could catch the ball before most of the other kids his age so first base was a natural spot.
Cantrell played all the way up until middle school where he took a hiatus. He said he returned to the sport at the age of 15 when he was invited to play for the Blueprint Baseball travel team in Murfreesboro where he played for three years.
He credits Josh Renick, Jason Sharber and Dean Darnell saying, “They are the big reasons I’m the player I am today.”
Will said he even talked to Renick not too long ago about his future and his next steps. Being reintroduced to baseball, Cantrell joined the WCHS team where he played until he graduated.
He specifically remembers facing Sparta when the game went into extra innings and said, “We won on a wild pitch in the ninth inning.”
He started reminiscing and shared another memory from college where he hit the ball so far it hit the scoreboard. Cantrell then flipped the bat to the dugout.
“My dad got a video of it,” said Cantrell.
This was his first college homerun which was ironically the last game he played before the team’s season got cancelled for COVID. With Bryan College, Cantrell has been able to play against many great athletes, but he recounted who he called “the best pitcher I ever faced.”
The pitcher was from Jacksonville State, and Cantrell said he didn’t know his name but added, “I hope he got drafted.” Cantrell has faced so many athletes that have gone on to play in higher leagues and said, “It’s cool to see kids I faced on TV.”
Cantrell is currently in search of a school to earn a master’s degree where he wants to continue playing baseball. He is currently working toward an Exercise Health Science degree and is currently interning at a local chiropractor’s office.
When asked if he would coach, he said, “I’ve never actually thought about it.” He said he may when he settles down and added, “I’m still enjoying playing right now.”