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Playing with a higher purpose

North Lincoln junior Trent Hopkins carries it with him everywhere he goes. Whether he’s in the spotlight on the gridiron, starring on the baseball diamond or asleep, Hopkins never puts it down.
In fact, in his eyes, it’s the reason why he’s having another stellar season for the Knights. So what is it? What is his secret? The young man who batted .288 as a freshman with three homers and 18 RBIs carries the peace of Christ with him everywhere he goes.
“There have been some events that might cause turbulence in people’s lives, but I’ve just had a weird peace about me. I’ve been talking to God a lot more than I’ve used to and He’s just keeping me at peace with everything,” Hopkins said.
The 6-foot-1, 220-pound two-sport standout got saved when he was just 9-years-old, but he didn’t seriously start to cultivate that relationship with Jesus until he began high school. While Hopkins regularly wears the W.W.J.D. bracelet, doesn’t drink, doesn’t cuss and is saving himself until marriage, he’ll be the first to admit he’s not perfect.
But he is able to stay calm in the midst of the storm.
“For whatever reason, I just feel a lot of peace. I feel peace on the baseball field, I feel peace on the football field. There is some stuff people might get upset about or hang their heads, but God gives inner peace where I feel like I’m fulfilling the Lord’s will and that He’s got a great plan for me,” Hopkins said.
In just three short years at North Lincoln, that plan has included all-state selections in baseball and in football with likely more to come. Last season, Hopkins batted .431, drove in 16 runs, scored 18 runs and was 24-for-24 on the year in stolen bases.
With 80 hits already to his credit, it’s hard to argue with the fact he believes he’s living God’s dream for his life.
“I want to tell people about it (His love), not by sitting them down and telling them about it but through my actions,” Hopkins said.
There are many things Hopkins does well on a baseball field: he’s a standout first baseman, hits for power, hits for average and runs the bases, but there is nothing he enjoys more than stealing bases.
Over the past two seasons, Hopkins is 43-for-43 when he attempts to steal.
“He does not get the best leads I’ve ever seen. Sometimes, I wish he would get a larger lead. He’s trying to get to a position to where he can score some runs and set up Kyle (Baker),” Knights head coach Sean Andrews said. “He gets good reads off the pitchers. He’ll steal a majority of his bases off the pitchers,” he added.
For Hopkins, who has a rare blend of maturity and horseplay, it all stems from four years he played for his dad Ken as part of East Lincoln Optimist.
“Ever since my dad coached me when he coached my little league team he focused on base running,” he said. “Base running is one of the funnest parts of the game. Anybody with big arms or big legs can hit the ball and throw the ball, but I like using my brain.”
This season, he’s 19-for-19 when he chooses to run and has scored 21 runs, but as quickly as he challenges a catcher, he’s just as quick to deflect the attention on his teammates.
“Baker has a hot bat and Chris (Hogue) has a hot bat, so I know if I get into scoring position, there is a really good chance of us scoring a run,” he said.
Baker is averaging more then one RBI a game as he’s capitalized with 21 RBIs on the year.
The likeable Hopkins is batting .500, and has 17 RBIs, with just four games remaining in his continuous quest to lead by example and to use his play as a platform for telling others about the Lord.
“He’s not the most vocal leader, but he does try to take control at certain points. He’s more of silent leader. He’s stepped up a couple of times and got us going, but the majority of the time he just kind of sits back and plays his game,” Andrew said.
While he continues to break school records and gain college attention, he’s more concerned about having fun and helping his team win.
“I never play a numbers’ game. I don’t like stats. Whatever I end up with, I end up with. When I steal a base, I’m not trying to boost my numbers or say look at me, I’m just trying to help the team out,” Hopkins said.
by John Mark Brooks

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