Buster and Sonya Thornton witnessed their son’s dreams come true last Thursday afternoon, as the Union High School senior signed to play baseball with Coker College in South Carolina.
Dawson Thornton plays center-field for the Spartans and is coached by Doug Burley and Josh Rackley. According to Burley, Dawson is a good kid, with a wonderful personality.
“He works hard in the weight room and is constantly practicing and playing ball all the time which is what it takes to be a complete ball player,” Burley said, noting that the Coker scholarship was well deserved. “When Dawson came out during his freshman year, I knew he had a special drive about him, he was different.”
Burley stressed that Thornton was a strong leader all the time.
Rackley mirrored those remarks, noting that the young man was constantly working, on and off the baseball diamond. “He is a good student, a find young man; the scholarship is well deserved,” the coach attested.
Thornton’s love of baseball began at age 4 when he began playing the sport as a shortstop in Royal Lane’s Little League. His dad was his coach.
The love of the game only grew, and now, as a high school student, Thornton has played for the Spartans for three seasons, earning All-Conference honors. He was also named Most Valuable Player last year.
He also played travel ball for Rock Solid based out of Wilmington for three seasons, and he took private lessons under Fletcher Bates in Wilmington.
“He is very dedicated to getting better, the work he put in is tremendous,” Bates noted about his student. “He’s been a pleasure to work with and is only scratching the surface of his potential.”
Rock Solid Coach Brad Mincey said Thornton is the lead-off batter for his team. “He has a good eye for the strike zone and puts the bat on the ball. He gets on base a lot and is good base runner,” Mincey said.
On defense he gets a good jump on the ball and is a good teammate that constantly picks up his team when they are down; he leads by example,” Mincey added.
His scholarship offer came after the young man went to a baseball camp at Coastal Carolina in Myrtle Beach where his play caught the eye of the Coker coach. “He called me one night and offered me a scholarship and, of course, I said yes,” Thornton said.
“It just goes to show that hard work and dedication does pay off,” Thornton pointed out. But that, alone, he added, isn’t enough to be a success. “You need to have someone who believes in you and is supportive which is what I have with my family, especially from my parents.
His dad Buster and his mom Sonya said they are very proud of their son and what he has accomplished and they are looking forward to watching him play his senior year and next year at Coker College.
For Thornton’s part, he’s ready to get back on the diamond, finishing at Union and then moving on to his next adventure.
“I’m very happy to be going to Coker,” he said.