Vike Thompson Signs With UNCP
Union Pines Viking senior student-athlete Jeffrey Thompson recently signed a National Letter of Intent to play collegiate baseball next school season for the University of North Carolina at Pembroke Braves.
UNCP, located in Pembroke, is an NCAA Division II school. The Braves are a member of the Peach Belt Conference and are coming off a -season in which the squad went 30-19 overall, 23-5 at home and 14-15 in league play.
Vike head coach Chad Hill is always thrilled when the UNCP baseball program perceives a Union Pines player as a prospective signee.
"Coach Paul O'Neil has done a phenomenal job at UNCP," said Hill. "In the Division II ranks, they (Braves) are one of the top 25 teams every year, and the conference they play in is one of the best in the nation, especially in the Southeast. So anytime we can get coach O'Neil to be interested in any of our players, we feel very honored."
Hill had two players from his 2007 Union Pines team play at Pembroke in Bryan Collins and Matt Key. Like both of those former ball players Thompson is a pitching prospect, but he also should see some time in the outfield for the Braves.
"After seeing him go to the State Games over this past summer in Winston-Salem as a left-handed -pitcher, coach O'Neil is going to give Jeffrey a chance to be a two-way player earlier on in his college career," said Hill. "That is a real plus. Hopefully he can do both next season and see where it leads him."
During his junior campaign, Thompson played a stellar centerfield in his first full season as a Viking varsity player last year. Due to his performance on the field he earned all-conference honors batting .353 from the two-hole in the batting order with one home run, 10 RBIs, 22 runs and five stolen bases. His on-base-percentage of .500 was the second best on the squad.
Thompson and Hill both participated in the 2012 PowerAde State Games of North Carolina High School Baseball Tournament, back in June at BB&T Ballpark in Winston-Salem, Wake Forest University and Glenn High School. Hill was selected as a Region 4 assistant coach, while Thompson was one of 20 players selected to the Region 4 team.
Currently a member of the Union Pines basketball team, Hill will be looking to Thompson to be a leader for the Vikes during their 2013 baseball campaign, which is officially slated to begin Feb. 28 with a home game at Viking Field in Cameron against East Montgomery.
"Jeffrey is just a super all-around student-athlete," said Hill. "If you looked up what a student-athlete should be like in the -dictionary, there would be a picture of Jeff. He handles his business in the classroom, where the teachers all love him, and he is carrying a 4.0-plus GPA. It is -unbelievable how that work ethic he has in the classroom carries over to the baseball field and basketball court."
Contact F.W. Manning II at email@example.com.
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