Showcase | Story | 4/21/2013

2-sport star takes in Spring Top

Jeff Dahn        
Photo: Perfect Game

CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa -- There are plenty of positive statements that can be issued about highly regarded 2013 outfield prospect Dom Thompson-Williams, but the best place to start would be that he is a winner. Or, at the very least, certainly likes to associate himself with winners.

Thompson-Williams is a 6-foot, 185-pound two-sport star at Sioux City (Iowa) East High School who spent the weekend at Perfect Game Field at Veterans Memorial Stadium taking part in the PG Spring Top Prospect Showcase for the second straight year. Although it was kind of chilly and breezy over the course of the event's two-day run, Thompson-Williams felt it was right place to be to get his baseball mojo rising again.

"I really didn't have anything else to do and I've got to get back into the baseball mode," he said. "Being a football player, too, I just thought it was time to get back into the grind again. The only thing I was really concerned about was my throwing, and I wanted to get my velocity up there, this being my senior year." He threw 90 mph from the outfield, one of only three participants to in the workout to reach 90.

Thompson-Williams, a left-handed outfield prospect ranked in the top-500 nationally in the class of 2013 and No. 5 in the state of Iowa, is coming off a 2012 Iowa high school summer season in which he led Class 4A (big schools) with a .544 batting average, 25 doubles and 42 stolen bases. He was made an Iowa Class 4A first-team all-state selection after a season in which East finished 34-9, coming up just short of a state tournament berth.

And then there's this football deal. Thompson-Williams was also an Iowa Class 4A first-team all-state selection as a wide receiver last fall when he caught 58 passes for 1,234 yards and 12 touchdowns during East's 8-3, playoff qualifying season.

Now the question started centering on which direction Thompson-Williams would take his talents in college, baseball or football? The answer was an easy one for the two-sport all-stater: he signed a letter of intent to play both sports at junior college powerhouse Iowa Western Community College in Council Bluffs. The Reivers won NJCAA national championships in both sports last year.

"I've talked to a lot of D-I schools, but the D-I schools I've talked to (about football) don't really have a good baseball program and that's where I see my future being is in baseball," Thompson-Williams said. "I just can't give up football right now; I just love it too much. When I went down to Iowa Western, they told me the airport is just 15 minutes away and (D-I) coaches just fly in. If they see a kid they like they'll come in from anywhere.

"It's the number-one school in the country for both sports so I think it's a good choice, and I think it will be the smarter overall decision for me at the end."

There are doubters, to be sure. Playing multiple sports in high school is common and in many instances encouraged by administrators and coaches. Doing it on the collegiate level -- and especially at a national championship level -- can be another thing altogether.

"I've had tons of coaches tell me that more than likely you're not going to (play both sports) because it's so out of the ordinary," Thompson-Williams said. "But it's my dream to do it and I'm just going to keep doing it for as long as I can. I'll be busy constantly, there's no doubt about that, but it will keep me out of trouble, it will keep me doing good and keep my head on straight."

When it comes to continuing his football career, he is proceeding with his baseball career at the front of his mind. He was a wide receiver in high school, leaving himself susceptible to all kinds of blindside attacks from devious defensive backs. He will switch to d-back at Iowa Western.

"I look at it like I'd rather hit someone than get hit," Thompson-Williams said with a smile. "Especially if I'm playing baseball and I need to stay healthy, I'd rather hit someone than get hit."

His focus was entirely on baseball over the weekend. The Spring Top was the sixth PG-sponsored event Thompson-Williams attended, including last year's Spring Top Showcase and two seasons playing in the PG Iowa Spring Wood Bat League.

"It gets a lot of publicity out there," he said of the exposure the showcase provides. "Especially (on Sunday) when we go against the big pitchers, there's going to be a lot of scouts out there and a lot of publicity out there. I feel like that's really going to help us."

Thompson-Williams was in his comfort zone at the Spring Top. Among his teammates on the Columbia Blue team at the event were East High teammates Jake Westphal and Tyler Franko, along with several other players from the Sioux City area in northwest Iowa.

Westphal, a junior shortstop, is ranked in the top-1,000 nationally in the 2014 class and No. 6 in Iowa. He has already committed to Tennessee of the D-I Southeastern Conference.

"It's fun, and it's exciting to be here with the kids I'm comfortable with and kids that I've played with my whole life," Westphal said. "It's enjoyable to get to spend time with (Thompson-Williams) knowing that he's succeeding in his baseball career, and I am too."

Thompson-Williams, Westphal, Franko and a bunch of the other Sioux City-area prospects also play on the same team in the PG Iowa Spring Wood Bat League, and all seem to love the experience.

"Last year I went to dang-near every game (but) this year it's been kind of hard getting rides to the game," Thompson-Williams said. "When I do Perfect Game leagues and I go right into the high school (season), I feel like I'm way far above everyone and I feel way more prepared. All of the players that are here from Sioux City East say the exact same thing, and I feel like we're more on top of the game than anyone else."

"I think it's good for me," Westphal said in agreement. "It's definitely a big change for me from my high school spring league and there's a lot better competition. We get to play with kids that are going to be competing at the highest level and it's a good challenge for me."

When Thompson-Williams, Westphal and Franko head back to Sioux City Sunday night, they'll do so knowing they had been given the opportunity to perform in front of more than 50 scouts in their showcase finale. The main reason for that was because their Columbia Blue team was facing hard-throwing Missouri left-hander Jacob Brentz, who is being projected as a possible first round selection in MLB's June amateur draft.

Then it will another six weeks of PG Spring League play before they can really begin to concentrate on East High's summer season.

"Our goal is to be one of the best teams ever to come out of East; that's what we're planning. We have really high expectations," Thompson-Williams said.

"I think our high school team really can compete this year," Westphal added. "We've returned a lot of guys and we have a lot of guys that are pretty good baseball players, and I think we have a good chance to compete and make it into the state tournament."

And speaking of that June MLB amateur draft, Thompson-Williams admits he'll have an eye on it.

"I've filled out something like 12 or 13 MLB draft entries, so we'll see how that goes," he said. "If I don't go anywhere (this year) it doesn't really matter; I'm just glad I'm in it."

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