Mountain House High senior Ny’Zaiah Thompson knew that he was destined for the baseball diamond from a very young age.
Growing up, all he ever wanted to do was be out there on the field. Through the better days and the worse, his love for the game never faltered. Thompson treated every loss as a lesson and used every win as fuel to get him to where he is today — committed to play at Cal State Fullerton next fall.
“It was just in me,” Thompson told the Tracy Press. “I can’t even explain it. I’ve just always loved being out there competing. I had plenty of bad days growing up, but it didn’t matter. It happens.
“In baseball, there are so many ups and downs. But I think that’s the best part about it. It’s not only taught me about the sport, but also about growing up and being a man outside of it. You have to be able to accept everything for what it is.”
Thompson penned his letter of intent to play for the Titans in the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Division 1 around this time last year and made it official earlier in November.
The Mustangs varsity standout is relishing the opportunity and raring to go. Thompson is excited and grateful for his journey thus far, however there is a sense of inevitability about this just being a stepping stone on the road to something far greater.
“I know that one day — one day for sure — I will be in the Majors (MLB),” Thompson said. “I know that. I don’t know when that time will come, but I just know that it will happen. I really believe in myself.”
Thompson’s dreams are big but so is his hunger and desire to be great. With him at the fore, the Mustangs finished off last season with a 19-10 (12-2 Western Athletic Conference) record and a trip to the playoffs. The outfielder was determined to land at a spot that will enable him to compete for hardware over the next four years once his career at Mountain House comes to an end.
Speaking about what drew him to Fullerton, Thompson said: “Honestly, it was the history. They’re just a winning program. A winning dynasty. And I always want to win.
“There were also new coaches coming in at the time when they were recruiting me, so I wanted to make sure that they were still on the same page as me. But then we talked and agreed that we all want to win. We’re here to win.”
A big chunk of Thompson’s drive and motivation stems from an almost obsession with winning. That fact paired with the Mustangs’ shortcomings in the spring have left a bit of a sour taste in his mouth. Now preparing for his senior year, the goal is to help take the team further.
Thompson led the Mustangs in stolen bases with 33 last season which had him at No. 22 in the State and third in the Sac-Joaquin Section. He also led the team in runs with 28, which was first in WAC, and was second in hits with 31 (11 RBIs).
The senior was happy with his progress individually, but he insists that now that his future is secured, it’s all about the team. It always has been, however his desire to do something great with the Mustangs and leave a legacy behind at the school is perhaps greater than ever.
“It is like unfinished business,” Thompson said about next season. “Over the years, I feel like I got better each year in terms of stats, but this year — individually — I just want to go out there and play for my team. For myself as well, but I’m not really going to worry about stats anymore.
“I think that last year I kind of got a little too involved with that. But this year, I’m just worried about winning — a deep playoff run. That’s my mentality moving forward.”
Thompson’s mentality and mindset appear to be steel solid. He is completely at peace with the fact that he may be a target for other teams next spring due to his high-profile college commitment. He knows that does not define him.
For Thompson, as soon as the first pitch of training camp is thrown, where he is headed no longer matters. It’s all about the now and the goal at hand — which is to put it on for Mustang country and create history that his team will be remembered for.
“I’m not really focused on me being committed anymore,” he said. “I’m just worried about playing for my high school team and having fun. I don’t really have any pressure on me since I’m already signed. If teams focus on me then I’m just going to take it as a complement. I don’t think about it as pressure, I’m still going to play my game regardless.
“I feel pretty good about it all. Once it got to high school season last year, I just said that I wasn’t going to care about what people think of me anymore. So what that I’m committed? I’m still human like everybody else. That doesn’t make me any different. I don’t put myself on a pedestal because of that. I just know who I am, and I know that I’m going to be great.”
Contact Arion Armeniakos at firstname.lastname@example.org, or call 209-830-4229.