Making life decisions are often hard. But when a person has tremendous confidence in themselves and the opportunity made available, everything seems to come together. Recently, Cole Thompson committed to William Peace University. The 2020 outfielder out of Cardinal Gibbons High School in Raleigh called it a “life decision.”
Right-handed hitter who can patrol any of the outfield positions at 5’8” and 155 pounds made the decision to commit to the Pacers based on several factors that all seemed to line up with who he is. Much of it centered around his love for his city of Raleigh. So that familiarity coupled with the smaller school environment where he feels he can find great academic success, were instrumental in guiding his choice.
And speaking of the environment, Thompson loves the outdoors – hunting, fishing and just being in nature. Even his fav class into his senior year is shaping up as Marine Ecology. By the way, William Peace Unversity has an environmental program of study.
It was also a life decision two years ago in choosing to be Dirtbag. Once Cole determined he wanted to have the opportunity to play college baseball, being a Dirtbag was seen as a sure-fire way to get the needed notoriety.
The reputation of the organization not only brought attention from colleges but it gave Thompson a chance to pay attention to what he needed to do in order to achieve his goals.
Cole says being with the Dirtbags has allowed him to elevate his skills and game due the players he plays with and against. It has forced him to fight for a position or spot in the line up.
It’s not just as a Dirtbag that forced Thompson to rise to a challenge as a baseball player. This past spring, as a junior at Cardinal Gibbons HS, he recounted how much he was pushed by the competition on the team that had multiple outfielders who were highly touted. Cole talks about how grateful his first varsity season for the Crusaders made him as he learned lessons and experienced a conference championship.
While competition on a team has been a leverage point to separate himself from other players in the sport looking to make themselves stand out, one gets the sense that Cole really appreciates the sense of being part of something bigger than himself while being a member of a successful baseball team.
Says Thompson about his view of being on these good teams he’s been a part of, “I really like to do my part.”
And doing his part is what leadership for the Dirtbags has noticed. General manager, Trey Daly says, “Being around Cole for the last two years I have seen a guy that always puts the team first and wants to play for the name on the front. Peace is not only getting a good outfielder but a guy that is selfless.”
Growth in his skills has occurred in so many areas but he says his baseball IQ really stands out as an attribute he has recognized significant growth. Where to be, how to handle a situation or what to expect rank just as high in Thompson’s view of game skills as strong arm or a solid bat.
Even having what Daly called a “compact swing,” Cole talked about some struggles at the plate over the past summer which provided that opportunity to get great guidance from a fellow Bag, Tyler McDaniel. “He was always pushing me and showing me little things.”
To Thompson that speaks volumes to the types of people in the Dirtbags organization. Perhaps competing with one another for the ever valued chance to get an offer from a collegiate program, the players show care and comraderie to build relationships in the game.
Lessons learned go well beyond the diamond for Cole Thompson. He says he has come to realize not to take everyday aspects of life and loved ones for granted. The bonds created on his summer of 2019 team (17u Alberts) was like a family which he values and appreciates all the members in good times and tough times.
With such an outlook, it’s easy to see the drive that puts Cole at 100% effort all the time. He even says such a fast aggressive approach has created some problems on the field in the past. He says he sees how slowing down may be more productive in some circumstances.
But the flip side is a kid can speak with conviction when he says, “When I’m on the bases, throw me out if you can. And I will never go down without swinging.”
In Thompson’s eyes it’s what being a Dirtbag is all about. When asked what the term “dirtbag” means to him, he responded, “Get after it … on a team to do just that. If you can’t, don’t be on the team. You’ve got to compete all the time. So many people know the name, you have to show them.”
It seems in talking to Thompson, those words don’t just reflect his views on the game of baseball, but it’s also about life decisions for him. Just trying to give his best in all he does, everyday.