Early County star catcher Hill Thomas, front row, center, signed with Darton College on Friday and was joined by, back row, left to right, Bobcats assistant Scot Rowland, head coach Tommy Holloman, assistant Jason Patrick, as well as father, Hal Thomas, and mother, Sonja Rowland.
BLAKELY — Hill Thomas took one trip to Darton and decided he’d seen enough.
Then he met first-year head baseball coach Scot Hemmings and he knew was where he belonged.
“Beside hearing such good things about coach Hemmings and the fantastic job he’s been able to do with every program he’s entered, the school, the atmosphere and the campus just sold me,” said Thomas, a star catcher for Early County who signed with the Cavs on Friday. “I had some other schools interested in me, but I felt that under coach Hemmings’ supervision, I could really grow as a player (and a student-athlete).”
Hill, a four-year starter for the Bobcats, brings quite the stat sheet to the Cavs. Last season he posted a team-high .428 batting average with 21 RBI, seven doubles and three home runs to go along with a .726 slugging percentage. He’s also one heck of a student with a 3.8 unweighted GPA and 4.2 weighted.
“He’s not only smart in the classroom, but he understands the game about as well as anyone I’ve had,” Bobcats coach Tommy Holloman said of Thomas, who became his third collegiate signee in his four years as coach. “He’s absolutely one of the hardest working kids I’ve ever coached. He had great heart, puts the team first and he knows how to sacrifice to get better. That means giving up your Friday and Saturday nights sometimes, and Hill does that.”
Holloman said he’s seen potential in Thomas ever since his freshman year, but came to realize how special a player he was after a game against Thomasville last season.
“(Former Thomasville star) Tanner Warren came up to Hill after a game one time and said, ‘Man, every time I’ve ever played you, you’ve always been my kryptonite,’ ” Holloman recalled. “That was about the biggest compliment he could’ve gotten because Tanner is playing college ball now.”
Thomas, who has aspirations to play in the majors one day, says he hopes to make an impact at Darton right away.
“I don’t know what kind of playing time I’ll see (as a freshman), but from my perspective, if I put my heart into every practice and do what I have to do, I think I can help them immediately,” he said. “That’s my goal.”