Thomas joins upstart Dolphins team|Former Pam Pack player fulfills lifelong dream

Published 10:09 am Friday, July 31, 2009

Staff Writer

On June 29, former Pam Pack pitcher/first baseman Brandon Thomas made history when he signed a letter of intent to play for the College of Albemarle baseball team.
With his signature, Thomas became a member of the COA’s first baseball team in 33 years. The comprehensive community college in Elizabeth City suspended its intercollegiate athletic programs over 33 years ago, and reinstated the programs at the beginning of this calender year.
Dolphins head coach Norbie Wilson signed his first 13 high school players on May 17 after some vigorous recruiting. Thomas joined the team after he stood out at a team tryout in mid-June.
A tryout he almost didn’t make.
After graduating from Washington High School in early June, Thomas was still without a college to play ball for. Thomas admitted he was close to giving up on playing collegiate ball, a dream since he was 10, before his high school coach, Darin Vaughan, told him about the COA.
Thomas did some research on the Dolphins, and found out the team was holding a tryout the next day.
“So I ran down there,” Thomas said.
Within a few days of the tryout, Thomas received a call from Coach Wilson, who invited him on a tour of the campus. The three-year varsity Pam Pack player liked what he saw and signed up.
“I signed on right after he (COA athletic director Jeff Carter) gave me the tour,” Thomas said.
The former Washington standout will be moving to Elizabeth City on Aug. 15. Shortly thereafter, he will begin fall practice with the Dolphins, seeing most of his action at first base.
Thomas, who graduated from Washington with a 3.8 GPA, plans to pursue a degree in engineering from East Carolina University after getting his Associate’s from the COA.
But, in the meantime, he’s more than happy to be playing for the Dolphins.
“It really does feel great to be able to play ball out of high school,” Thomas said. “I really like the whole idea of a new program. It’s a fresh start.”
The former Pam Pack player said he’s excited to see how the Dolphins compete in the National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA).
“I’d really like to see how we progress,” he said. “I want us to set a precedent for the teams after us.”
And his parents are behind him 100 percent.
“We both think it’s a good opportunity for him,” said his mother, Sherri. “He’s been working hard and trying to find somewhere to play. This just worked in his favor and worked out very well.”