Thomas Dillard is not your average senior athlete; he is one of the top high school catchers in the country and he attends Oxford High School. This season started off a little slow for Dillard, but he quickly figured out how to turn it around.
“I started off kind of cold this year, and I normally wear my sleeve on my right arm, my throwing arm, but I decided to switch it to my left arm and I started playing better,” said OHS starting baseball catcher, Thomas Dillard.
Dillard also contributes his season improvements to the fact that he wears the same undershirt every game. Superstitions aside, Dillard is one of the most talented catchers you will come across. According to Oxford Head Baseball Coach, Chris Baughman, Dillard can do more than just catch.
“He is a five tool player: he can run, he can hit for power, he can hit for average, he throws the ball well, and he’s really good behind the plate. He currently has the highest batting average on the team with a 0.409, and is able to hit homerooms on either side of the plate,” Baughman said. “Dillard’s statistics speak for themselves on what type of player he is. However, if you ever came across him outside of the diamond you would never know. “He handles attention really well for a high school kid. That plays a big role in his acceptance by his teammates.”
Dillard’s outstanding performance does not end on the field though.
Baughman exclaimed, “He is a great student in the classroom; very smart, very respectful, stays out of trouble. He has his priorities in line. He knows what he wants to do, and he sets those priorities in the right order. He just gives us that positive leadership off the field and away from the baseball diamond that these younger kids need.”
Dillard’s leadership skills on and off the diamond are what make him stand out as a student athlete, which has impacted his future baseball career. According to Baughman, Dillard plans to play baseball at Ole Miss as a freshman next year.
Baughman would tell anyone who gets this guy, “You’re getting a good person, you’re getting a guy who cares about his teammates. He wants to see his teammates do well. He is going to work harder then anyone else in the system, and is just all around a great baseball player.”
Dillard signed to play at Ole Miss in the fall, joining a few other OHS students who will play at Swayze too. Four of Dillard’s current teammates have also signed to be Rebels next year.
“Being a senior and knowing it isn’t your last season together, it’s really cool knowing you have three to four more seasons together. It’s a cool experience,”
Dillard said. Let us just hope the MLB does not take him from Oxford before he leads the Rebels to Omaha!
Kristin Banks is an intern with hottytoddy.com, and is a student at the Meek School of Journalism and New Media. She can be reached firstname.lastname@example.org.
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