South Carolina outfielder Dom Thompson-Williams got a tattoo behind his left ear during his senior year of high school that reads “dream bigger.” This is what he had in mind.
Growing up in Iowa, Thompson-Williams always wanted to play in the SEC. After two years of junior college, he’s getting that opportunity at South Carolina, and Thompson-Williams is taking advantage of his chance to play baseball in the best conference in the country.
The junior has reached base in all 22 games to begin his career at South Carolina, and is batting .395 with four home runs and 20 RBIs. Thompson-Williams has gone from playing in front of crowds of 10s to thousands.
His tattoo is a constant reminder of where he comes from, where he is and where he hopes to be.
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“I got it to not forget why I’m here. No matter what ride life takes me on, no matter what opportunities I get, to always dream bigger,” Thompson-Williams said. “Being from Iowa, I think I’ve done that, and I’m going to continue to dream bigger.”
While Thompson-Williams has aspirations of being a professional baseball player, he’s happy playing for the Gamecocks. He leads South Carolina in runs, doubles, triples, walks and stolen bases, and is becoming a fan favorite.
“I’m definitely living the dream right now. What else can you ask for?” he said. “You get the publicity, you get the fans, you get Gamecock garnets on, you get the whole fan base behind you. I’m in left or center, wherever I’m playing, and you’ve got fans screaming my name and waving at me. It’s a dream come true. I’m happy I’m here.”
Thompson-Williams has been used many different places in the South Carolina lineup, from leadoff to the middle of the order, but he appears to have found a home batting fifth. In nine games in the five-hole, Thompson-Williams is batting .485 with three home runs, two triples, 15 RBIs and 12 runs.
He’s on an 11-game hitting streak and is batting .475 during that stretch. Thompson-Williams said it took him some time to get comfortable playing at USC and to find a place in the lineup where he fit best.
“I’m not used to this. We had 20-30 fans at a game and half of them were probably scouts. It’s a lot and a lot of excitement to take in. It’s definitely different,” he said. “I definitely feel a lot better in the fifth-hole. I’ve settled in, and hopefully I can start producing and producing more.”
His emergence has made it tough for opposing pitchers to deal with the middle of the Gamecocks’ order.
John Jones, among the SEC leaders in batting average (.422), home runs (6) and RBIs (31), is batting third. He’s followed by Alex Destino, who is hitting .364 with four home runs and 22 RBIs, all while riding a 13-game hitting streak.
“If you look at our numbers, back-to-back, we’re very confident hitters. We’re having a great time,” Destino said. “Credit that to John and Dom hitting around me. They’ve been doing their job. I’m having to play keep-up with these guys at times.”
As a team, the Gamecocks are batting .325 and averaging 7.5 runs per game. Thompson-Williams and Jones are a big reason why.
“(Dom’s) special. Him and John both are really special hitters,” second baseman DC Arendas said. “Dom’s patience at the plate is something that’s really stood out to me. He’s getting pitched differently each weekend, and watching him adapt to how they’re making pitches and make adjustments has been really cool to see.”