Vols’ Thompson signs with Illinois State

By JOHN D. HOMAN, Logan Media Services

John A. Logan College sophomore pitcher/outfielder Derek Thompson has signed a letter of intent to play baseball on scholarship next fall for Illinois State University.

JALC sophomore Derek Thompson signs a letter of intent to play baseball on scholarship at Illinois State University next fall. A native of Teutopolis, Thompson was recruited as a lefthanded pitcher. He also plays outfield for the Volunteers. (Photo courtesy Jonathan LeBlond)

A native of Teutopolis, the former prep All-Stater turned in an amazing freshman season for the Volunteers last spring, going 8-2 with a 1.92 earned-run-average and four shutouts. The lefthander struck out 103 and walked only 29.

Thompson was also a force to be reckoned with limited playing time on offense, batting .299 with two home runs and six runs batted in. He had 20 hits in 67 at bats and scored 11 runs. And defensively, he was nothing short of outstanding with several diving catches in the postseason.

Thompson was instrumental in Logan winning the Great Rivers Athletic Conference with a mark of 23-5 and posting a 41-22 overall record, which included a second straight Region 24 championship and advancement to the Northern District championship game against Iowa Western, also for the second straight year.

“Derek is a definite impact player,” said Vols head coach Jerry Halstead. “I expect him to be our No. 1 starter next spring and will start in the outfield when not pitching.”

Halstead said Thompson possesses an above-average fastball and sharp curve. He is still working on developing a better change up.

“Simply put, he’s a special player. It’s quite a coup for Illinois State to keep him here in the state considering Derek was being recruited by some schools in the Southeastern Conference. When he fills out and matures at 6-foot-4 and 220 to 230 pounds, he’s going to be something out. Probably the only reason we got him was because he was about 180 when he got here and needed time to mature.”

Thompson said coming to Logan was the right choice for him.

“Last spring was great and I’m very much looking forward to next spring,” he said. “I think we have a lot of depth on this team and am excited about our chances within the conference and then again at the regional at the end of the season.”

Thompson said that while he enjoys playing multiple positions, he realizes that pitching is probably his strong suit.

“I just need to keep focused and make sure my mechanics are OK. As long as I can do that, as well as add a few miles-per-hour to my fastball and locate my pitches, I should be fine.”

Thompson said he also looks forward to competing at Illinois State next fall.

“Believe me, I’m excited about it. Just one step at a time, though. We have some unfinished business here at Logan first.”

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