Thomp­son gets start­ing nod in Blue Crabs’ open­ing se­ries

La Plata grad­u­ate to pitch Satur­day, de­ter­mined to make most out of ca­reer

Maryland Independent - - Sports - By AJ MA­SON aj­ma­son@somd­news.com

Daryl Thomp­son of­ten has fond mem­o­ries of his days play­ing Ma­jor League Base­ball.

The 2003 La Plata High School grad­u­ate most no­tably re­mem­bers mak­ing his first-ever big league start for the Cincin­nati Reds un­der for­mer man­ager Dusty Baker — now the man­ager of the Wash­ing­ton Na­tion­als — as they took on the New York Yan­kees.

It was on June 21, 2008 be­fore a sold­out crowd of 54,509 at the old Yan­kee Sta­dium where the for­mer rookie Reds young gun, who was 22 years old at the time, proved to be too much to han­dle.

Thomp­son worked five in­nings in front of his fam­ily and for­mer high school coach, al­low­ing just four hits with two strike­outs and four walks in a no-de­ci­sion, as the Reds walked away with a 6-0 win.

“I hadn’t slept in three days,” said Thomp­son re­call­ing the mo­ment. “I was so ex­cited think­ing about go­ing up against the Yan­kees lineup. It was a great ex­pe­ri­ence that I will never for­get.”

He was locked up in a pitcher’s duel with then Yan­kees rookie Dan Giese, who was also mak­ing his first-ever start, and was re­lieved af­ter those five in­nings with the game still score­less.

The Yan­kees loaded the bases with no outs in the sec­ond, but Thomp­son struck out Jorge Posada, got Robin­son Cano to pop out to catcher Paul Bako and fanned Melky Cabr­era.

An in­ning later, Thomp­son gave up a sin­gle to five-time World Se­ries cham­pion and Gold Glove award win­ner Derek Jeter. But he pulled out some more magic out of his hat, re­tir­ing the heart of the or­der — Bobby Abreu, Alex Ro­driguez and Ja­son Gi­ambi — on three fly­outs.

Now the 31-year-old right-han­der, who en­ters his sixth sea­son with the South­ern Mary­land Blue Crabs of the At­lantic League, still has as­pi­ra­tions of mak­ing it back to the big leagues, but only time will tell.

“I would like the op­por­tu­nity to to be in the big leagues one last time,” Thomp­son

said. “But I’m happy just to be play­ing pro base­ball. At the end of the day it is all about op­por­tu­nity and play­ing for the Blue Crabs is where I’m at right now.”

Satur­day night, Thomp­son is slated to be take the hill as the starter in Game 3 of a four-game set against the Long Is­land Ducks at Wal­dorf’s Re­gency Fur­ni­ture Sta­dium sched­uled for 6:35 p.m. The Blue Crabs were sched­uled to have open­ing night on Thurs­day night with Game 2 of the se­ries set for 6:35 tonight. The se­ries wraps up at 2:05 p.m. Sun­day.

“It’s al­ways great to play in front of home fans,” said Thomp­son, who was drafted out of high school in 2003 by the Mon­treal Ex­pos, which left for Wash­ing­ton be­fore the 2005 sea­son. “From grow­ing up play­ing base­ball here in South­ern Mary­land it re­ally has al­ways been home and ev­ery­one has sup­ported me so much. It has been fun. I’m look­ing for­ward to play­ing an­other sea­son here and it all starts with try­ing to win the se­ries in Long Is­land.”

Blue Crabs man­ager John Harris, in his first sea­son at the helm, has seen Thomp­son pitch only three or four times.

“He throws the ball hard and his ve­loc­ity is up,” Harris said. “He works very hard and one of our vet­er­ans who have been around for a while. He brings a lot of lead­er­ship and the way he car­ries him­self is what I’m im­pressed with. We have some strong arms on our pitch­ing staff and I’m look­ing for­ward to hav­ing Daryl in our start­ing ro­ta­tion.”

Thomp­son made big league ap­pear­ances in 2008 and 2011 be­fore sev­eral shoul­der surg­eries af­fected his process. He signed with the Blue Crabs in 2012 and was an At­lantic League All-Star in 2013 be­fore get­ting as­signed to the New York Mets Triple-A Las Ve­gas af­fil­i­ate for a brief stint.

PHOTO BY BERT HIND­MAN

Daryl Thomp­son, a 2003 La Plata High School grad­u­ate, en­ters his sixth sea­son with the Blue Crabs. He will start Satur­day in Game 3 of a four-game set ver­sus the Long Is­land Ducks at Re­gency Fur­ni­ture Sta­dium in Wal­dorf.

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