With a big-time summer for the Arkansas Sticks, Camden Fairview star and Arkansas 2023 baseball pledge Martavius Thomas solidified himself again as one of the state’s best diamond prospects.
Thomas (5-9, 155) and the Sticks finish up their summer slate last Thursday afternoon with a 6-5 loss in the BCS 17-and-under national championship in Fort Myers, Fla.
A 5-1-1 run in the event ended a summer where Thomas, also a standout quarterback for the Cardinals, and the Sticks went 25-4 against some of the nation’s best programs.
“It’s been a really great summer and I’ve been happy with how I’ve played and how our team played,” Thomas said. “I think I have just gotten better by putting in the work and continuing to develop.”
Thomas was the regular center fielder for head coach Chase Brewster’s Sticks 3N2 squad.
“I was telling somebody that I think he is the best defender that we have ever had at any position,” Brewster said. “He is a plus arm, a plus runner, a plus defender and he is a switch hitter. His offense is going to come because he works as hard as anybody we have got.”
Thomas said his defensive prowess comes in part from his dad.
“I take a lot of pride in my defense,” Thomas said. My dad will hit it as far as he can and I will just run it down. I swing the bat pretty good from both sides of the plate.
“I really want to be as consistent as possible and just continue to work to be the best I can.”
Thomas hit .400 for Camden Fairview (14-10) in 2022 with two home runs, six doubles, four triples, 29 runs scored, 18 walks, nine strikeouts and was 16 for 16 in stolen base attempts.
Thomas chose Arkansas over co-finalist Tennessee along with Florida State, Louisville, Oklahoma State, Stetson, Arkansas-Little Rock and others.
“Tennessee was recruiting me really hard and I loved their coaches and where their program is headed, but Arkansas was just the right place for me,” Thomas said.
Razorback hitting coach Nate Thompson and head coach Dave Van Horn impressed Thomas.
“Basically, Coach Nate Thompson is just one of the best guys, the best coaches that I have ever been around,” Thomas said. “And Coach Dave Van Horn just made me feel like a son. When he calls me, it’s not just about baseball, but about life.
“I wanted to go somewhere where I don’t just play baseball, but I will be taken care of as well.”
Thomas patterns his game after a trio of major league stars in Chicago White Sox shortstop Tim Anderson, Atlanta outfielder Ronald Acuna and Miami middle infielder Jazz Chisolm.
“Basically I get my energy from Tim Anderson,” Thomas said. “But as far as at the plate, I try to be like Ronald Acuna from the right side and Jazz Chisolm from the left side with his fun side and the flash. I just like to have fun with the game.”
His cousin is Jonathan Davis, a former 15th round pick in the 2013 draft by the Toronto Blue Jays. He played with the New York Yankees in 2021 and is currently with the Milwaukee Brewers.
“Honestly I want to have as much experience as I can while the game is fun and before it becomes a job whether it is at Arkansas or the next level,” Thomas said. “I am not rushing anything. I just want to get a much experience and knowledge as a I can and be the best me I can be.”
Thomas will now turn his attention to football where he completed 176 of 271 passes for 3,257 yards and 34 TDs and rushed 114 times for 882 yards and six more scores for a 10-2 team last season.
That included going 22 of 28 for 514 yards and 7 TDs in the first half alone in a 62-3 at De Queen.
Thomas feels good about how Camden Fairview will be in both sports with baseball having some new faces.
“I feel like we are going to be pretty good,” Thomas said. “We are picking up two new coaches and we have some young guys coming up that are going to be really good. I’ll be able to get in their ears a little bit because they respect me.”