KENNETT, Mo. - Kennett senior Ty’Reik Thomas has been on Three Rivers College baseball coach Stacey Burkey’s radar screen for quite sometime.
“We’ve known about Ty’Reik for several years,” Burkey said. “His athleticism caught our attention several years ago. He’s one of the youngest in his class so I know he has an awfully high ceiling. I think his best days are still in front of him on the baseball field . . .”
Burkey will have the opportunity to watch Thomas on the baseball diamond for the next couple years. Thomas elected to sign to play baseball at Three Rivers College in Poplar Bluff Friday.
“It felt like it was home when I went to Three Rivers,” Thomas said. “Ever since I was four-years-old I’ve wanted to play baseball at the next level. It has been a dream. I love the sport.”
Burkey said Thomas is likely to see time as an outfielder and may also pitch at Three Rivers.
Kennett baseball coach Aaron New has coached Thomas throughout his high school career.
“He’s a highly athletic player from this area,” New said. “He’s a well-above average defender in the outfield with a great throwing arm and good speed. His offensive game has really come around the last couple years. When he was younger he struggled and wasn’t strong enough to compete when we put him in the lineup. But the more experience he has gained the more his offensive game has improved. He’s really turned himself into as good of a player as there is in this area.
“I think there is a lot of upside on the mound,” New added. “He just hasn’t pitched a lot for us the last few years and didn’t pitch a lot when he was younger. But as time went on he has pitched more innings and he really started developing a little bit this summer as a pitcher. I’m kind of anxious to see how he continues to develop and that may end up being the strength of his game.”
New said Thomas is one of the most dedicated players he has coached.
“He’s always been there,” New said. “He’s one of our guys that every time we have an event he’s there. He has been there for every summer game. He’s never went off and played for anyone else. He’s consistently been a quality player for us. When I think about him after we leave what I will think about is we could always count on him to be here, do the right things and make his grades. He’s just a tremendous kid.”
Thomas says he plans on majoring in business administration at Three Rivers College.
Dustin Ward - Dunklin Democrat Sports Editor