Thomas Signs Professional ContractJuly 4, 2012 - Coastal Plain League (Coastal Plain) Wilmington Sharks
Though he primarily came out of the bullpen this summer, the righty was a starter at Lander University, where he was the Peach Belt Conference Pitcher of the Year among many other accolades, and will be a starter in the Diamondbacks organization. He has been waiting for this opportunity, calling it an "unrealistic feeling to watch your dream become a reality." Thomas added, "I'm very thankful that I've been blessed enough to get this opportunity and that the Lord gave it to me."
Fittingly, Thomas got the call he had been waiting for on July 4 after getting on the radar of Arizona scouts when the Sharks hosted the USA Baseball Collegiate National Team on June 26. "Having Team USA come out was a positive experience for everyone involved, and has already proven to be beneficial not only to our fans and organization but to our players. We wish Chris the best in his future," said Sharks General Manager Andrew Aguilar.
The opportunity to pitch for Wilmington's entry in the Coastal Plain League is what Thomas credits with helping him follow his dream. "Honestly, I don't think if I would have never got the opportunity to pitch for the Sharks, none of this would have happened. I thank coach McCleney for asking me to come down and giving me a spot on the team."
Despite his 0-2 record and 6.10 ERA this summer, the reliever's control of the strike zone opened eyes. He fanned 20 batters in 10.1 innings, walking only three over his six appearances that included one start. At Lander, Thomas went 8-2 with a 2.43 ERA and 92 strikeouts in 92.2 frames to help the Bearcats to their most successful season ever, with a school-record 38 wins and a berth in the Division II Southeast Regional Tournament.
After seeing his family in Chester, S.C., Thomas will head west to Arizona to find out where he will report to begin his life as a professional athlete.
The Wilmington Sharks are members of Coastal Plain League, the nation's hottest summer collegiate baseball league. Now in its 16th season, The Coastal Plain League features 14 teams playing in North Carolina, South Carolina and Virginia. The CPL gives college players the chance to refine their skills with the use of wooden bats. Players are housed with local host families for the summer. The CPL has had over 1,000 alumni drafted and 52 alums make their Major League debut thus far. For more information on the Coastal Plain League, please visit the league website at www.coastalplain.com.
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