DUE WEST- To say that Dixie High School junior Will Hopkins has made the most of his time back on the baseball field would be an understatement.
Following his sophomore season, Hopkins underwent Tommy John surgery, with his junior season in doubt. After serving primarily as a pinch runner and defensive replacement for the majority of the 2013 season, the junior star has made the most of his opportunity upon returning to full-time action. In just his second game of full action, Hopkins went 2-3, with three RBI in Dixie’s 15-1 rout of Ware Shoals, as they captured the Region I-1A championship. The win clinched the school’s first region crown since 2007.
“It’s huge,” Dixie first year head coach Jimmy Prince said. “He plays great defense and steps up in big situations and delivers hits. It’s like the old saying, ‘big time players make big time plays, in big games.’ That’s him (Hopkins).”
While Hopkins was happy to be able to help his team as a pinch runner for most of the season, the Hornets’ infielder explained that it was a fulfilling experience to be able to return to full action.
“It’s been awesome to be able to finally play,” Hopkins said. “To just be out there in the field, and hit too, instead of just running the bases.”
The timing of Hopkins’ return was especially significant, considering the magnitude of the game, with home field advantage throughout the playoffs at stake.
“It was big to come back when I did, with the region championship on the line,” Hopkins said. “It meant a lot for me and all of our players. I was glad I could come back for the seniors and get this region championship.”
With Hopkins now back and his team having home field advantage throughout the playoffs, Prince’s Hornets will open 1A playoff action at home Thursday night. According to Prince, postseason expectations are sky high.
“The next goal on our list is the District Championship,” Prince said. “We get home field advantage throughout the playoffs, having a number one seed. But that’s our next goal, win the District Championship and go from there.”