Oregon State ace has family tie to Culver
An earlier version of this story misidentified Brian Thompson and Joe Thompson. Brian is Nels Thompson's son and Jake's uncle, while Joe is Jake's brother. Their father is Jon Thompson. The Pioneer regrets the errors.
The Thompson family name is synonymous with Culver athletics history.
From 1977-80, Nels Thompson roamed the Culver football sideline as head man, and his sons, Brian and Jon (Jake's father), lettered in the sport.
But the latest athlete in the Thompson family lineage is making an even bigger impact, on a historically dominant college baseball team, no less.
Jake Thompson, 22, has established himself in Oregon State baseball's elite pitching rotation, which also includes Pac-12 pitcher of the year Luke Heimlich.
Thompson, a redshirt junior, isn't far behind himself, as he went a perfect 12-0 during the regular season with a 1.31 ERA, which ranks third nationally behind Heimlich's top 0.83 ERA.
Thompson, a 2013 graduate of Siuslaw High in Florence, was selected that year by the Chicago Cubs in the 34th round of the MLB First Year Player's Draft — just 20 picks before Madras High product Devin Ceciliani was selected by the Tampa Bay Rays.
Thompson opted not to sign with the Cubs, instead heading to Oregon State to play college baseball. He wound up taking a redshirt year, before going through a long maturation process on the mound. Thompson's breakout 2017 campaign has made him an elite MLB prospect.
In his latest outing, against Holy Cross last Friday in game one of the Corvallis NCAA Regional, Thompson pitched 7 and 2/3 innings with 10 strikeouts, while allowing four hits and one earned run.
The Beavers were ranked No. 1 in the NCAA for much of the season after posting a 49-4 regular season record including a Pac-12 record of 27 wins.
The team is looking to return to the College World Series for the first time since 2013. The Beavers won back-to-back national championships in 2006 and 2007 under head coach Pat Casey, who is now in his 23rd season at the helm.
Although Thompson himself isn't personally connected to Central Oregon, his grandfather oversaw the Culver football program during an important era.
Nels Thompson took over as head coach to begin the 1977 season. The Bulldogs had won three consecutive Class B state titles — two under Lonnie Turner and one under Fred Blackman.
During Thompson's four-year tenure, Culver twice went undefeated in the regular season, in 1978 and 1979, respectively. Both seasons however, the Bulldogs were stymied in their first game of the playoffs, and finished each season with a 9-1 mark.
The 1978 season saw the Bulldogs jump from Class B to A, which also marked an important switch from 8-man to 11-man football.
Thompson's defensive coordinator, Jack Reding, took over head-coaching duties at the beginning of the 1981 season.