A.J. Thibodeau scored a goal and assisted on three others in Harlem High School's 4-0 soccer win against Hephzibah.
Not bad for a baseball player.
"He just does this for fun," Bulldogs soccer coach Mike Hopkins said.
The Bulldogs improved to 8-2 and have one loss in Region 3-AAA. Harlem's final regular-season game is Thursday at home against Glenn Hills. Hopkins should know his team's postseason opponent by then.
He felt his team ceded the middle of the field too often against Hephzibah and he hopes to have the problem solved before the postseason.
"We can't do that against good teams," he said.
Thibodeau said he's a better baseball player than striker. He plays soccer for fun while waiting for travel baseball season to begin.
He said he has more fun playing soccer than he would playing baseball for Harlem coach Jimmie Lewis.
"I really don't see him as a good coach at coaching me," Thibodeau said.
The Bulldogs junior has played travel baseball for coach Billy Gamblin since he was 8. Gamblin is the father of Bulldogs baseball player Patrick Gamblin.
The U-16 travel team made it to Kissimee, Fla., for last year's USSSA World Series, which it won.
"We skunked them," Thibodeau said of the team's final opponent.
Thibodeau and Bulldogs soccer teammate Gabe Warner have Harlem on the verge of the No. 1 seed in its subregion.
Warner is playing his first full season since tearing his ACL playing club soccer two years ago. He averages two goals a game and Thibodeau provides the assists.
Warner scored two when the Bulldogs beat Hephzibah, and then assisted Thibodeau's goal when he lofted a kick over the defense to his teammate.
"I'm quick," Thibodeau said following the game.
"Yeah, like we didn't know that," Hopkins responded.
Harlem girls team in unusual position
Harlem girls soccer coach George Berry gathered his team after an 11-1 win against Hephzibah and delivered some strange news.
The Lady Bulldogs, with the win, all but guaranteed themselves the No. 2 seed in their subregion. It is the first time in seven years Harlem hasn't finished first.
"We lost some quality players last year," Berry said. "The freshmen who came in this year were not as skilled as they were in years past."
Berry also gave credit to Thomson, which returned a solid core and beat Harlem twice this season to secure the top seed.
Harlem was forced to deal with the loss of striker Michelle Miller to an ankle injury a month ago. The injury forced Berry to shuffle his lineup, which didn't go well at first.
"Our biggest problem is, we're just young," Berry said.
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