If it’s not game time, chances are Leopold Dixon is in the batting cage by the Towers High School baseball field.
The Titans senior figures the more time he spends there the better chance he has to get where he wants to be this time next year. Dixon is a versatile player who can play infield, outfield and pitch, and has jumped on the radar of college and Major League Baseball scouts.
“I spend more time this season in the batting cage after practice and after games,” said Dixon, who has been a starter since his freshman season. “When my dad tells me to come home, that’s when I leave.”
Towers coach Inglis Hunter has noticed improvement from Dixon at the plate and on the mound. Hunter points to a tireless dedication to improving his skills and a new workout regimen as the main reasons for Dixon’s emergence this season.
“He’s in good shape, I gave him a core workout to do and it’s carried over from last year,” Hunter said. “The core workouts have helped him be able to get more power at the plate. He wants to go to the cage as soon as practice or a game ends. You have to tell him to go home.”
The county leader with nine home runs a year ago, Dixon had five with one game remaining before spring break. He is batting .408 with 31 stolen bases and 22 RBIs. Scouts from the Kansas City Royals and the Chicago White Sox have shown interest, said Hunter.
Dixon said he has scholarship offers from several NCAA Division I colleges, including Texas Southern, Alabama A&M and North Carolina Central.
Towers entered the break on a five-game winning streak at 9-8, 4-4 in Region 5-AAA. Dixon’s performance in wins over Stephenson and Washington on March 26 and 27 served as a microcosm of his versatility. He had four stolen bases, four hits, two RBIs and earned a 2-1 win on a four-hitter against the Jaguars with 10 strikeouts.
Dixon has one other 10-strikeout outing this season. While he can throw his fastball in the low 90s, Hunter said he has a total of five pitches and can throw off-speed pitches effectively.
“A lot of coaches and scouts wanted to see him pitch more this season,” Hunter said. “Every three or four games, he’s up on the mound.”
Other players have stepped up recently, which Hunter likes to see because it takes some of the burden off Dixon. Darrius Wells, who pitched a one-hitter in a 15-0 win over Clarkston on March 29, and Dixon’s brother James Dixon are among the players who have contributed to the Titans current streak.
“We’ve had a couple of team meetings where the seniors have talked to the other guys,” Dixon said. “The team chemistry was better last year, but we’re starting to come together better. I try to stay focused no matter what happens. When the coach sees we’re not doing good, I try to get the team on the right track.”
Dixon has taken to his role as a team leader and embraces the chance to play different positions. He even has thrown batting practice in the cage before games.
“Anything I can do to help the team,” Dixon said. “I’m just working as hard as I can to get my name out there.”
These days, college scouts know the name and they know where to find him.