Drifters players sign autographs for fans at Hamlin Sports Complex baseball stadium.

SPRINGFIELD – Jack Thomson arrived in Springfield this summer with a hot bat.

Thomson was named player of the year in the Northwest Conference as a senior at Lewis & Clark College in Portland when he led the league with a .450 batting average, 14 home runs, 20 doubles and 56 runs scored to become the first Pioneer to win the conference’s top honor since 1995. Thomson also drove in 41 runs while racking up a .614 on-base percentage that led the nation.

“That was definitely a big confidence booster,” said Thomson, a 6-foot, 225-pound infielder for the Drifters. “It was a lot of fun to play with my teammates and we had a good season as a team. I feel like I can play with these guys. Especially after last summer, I feel like I belong now.”

Thomson had a 10-day contract in the West Coast League last year with the Ridgefield Raptors.

“That was a lot of fun,” Thomson said. “West Coast League fans show up to every game so it is a fun atmosphere, exciting to play in. It is real good competition that definitely made me a better baseball player”

He is a regular in the lineup this summer for Springfield and has three hits, four runs and two stolen bases in his first 11 games.

The Drifters are 4-8 in their inaugural season as they prepare to host Yakima in a three-game series at Hamlin Field beginning at 6:35 p.m. on Thursday.

“This season is going to be a lot of fun,” Thomson said. “It is every kid’s dream to play baseball every day and play with your friends. Meet new people and have a good time.”

Thomson, who is from Millbrae, Calif., was a four-year starter at Lewis & Clark who earned All-American honors in the spring from D3baseball.com and the American Baseball Coaches Association. He reached base safely in 36 of 37 starts and had a hit in 32 games.

“I did a really good job in the weight room and developed confidence in my swing,” he said. “I earned the trust of my coaches and teammates to play my game.”