CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- If you want impact out of a leadoff hitter, you go to George Washington sophomore John Thomas.
If you want the National Anthem played on an electric violin, you go to George Washington sophomore John Thomas.
The Patriots' leadoff hitter has combined his greatest loves, and like Glenn Donnellan and his Electric Slugger, Thomas has raised eyebrows of anybody watching him play baseball or listen to him play the strings.
Coach Chad Campbell's Patriots are 20-10 and thanks to an offense that averages 8.8 hits and 7.5 runs per game entering the Class AAA Region 3 Section 3 Tournament beginning Wednesday against South Charleston.
That success begins at the top with Thomas.
At a mere 15 years old, Thomas has been everywhere from his birthplace of Manhattan to Philadelphia and both Florida panhandles.
That hasn't slowed him down, as he takes a .422 batting average and a mean violin into this week's best-of-three series with the Patriots' biggest rival.
"I started out on the classical violin when I was 4," said Thomas, who has played the National Anthem on it at GW basketball and baseball games this school year. "I saw a bunch of other people doing other things (on the violin), so I switched. I started playing the electric violin about two years ago."
The idea came from Donnellan, a violinist for the National Symphony Orchestra. Louisville Slugger customized an electric violin for Donnellan out of a wooden bat, and even gave Donnellan a signature stamp.
Thomas has watched Donnellan, who - as well as the versatility of the electric violin - has inspired him.
"It's a whole different style of music," he said. "You get rock, everything. You switch from classical and you can apply it to everything.
"One day I decided to try to copy the version (by Donnellan) and figured it out to play it around at games."
Thomas could use his artistic and baseball talents to meet people, but didn't have a choice but to learn how to make friends.
West Virginia is the fourth state in which Thomas has lived, and the fifth city in four states he has resided.