By Bonta Hill
Growing up a Giants fan, former Academic Athletic Association baseball star O’Koyea Dickson’s dream of getting drafted to a Major League Baseball team came true.
Ironically, Dickson was drafted by the team he grew up to hate — the Los Angeles Dodgers.
A graduate of Washington High School in 2008, Dickson was drafted in the 12th round (374th overall) by the Dodgers on Tuesday.
“It’s a dream come true,” said an emotional Dickson. “God is good and I thank him for putting me in this position. I also want to thank my family for the support. I’m just so happy right now.”
In his junior year at Sonoma State this season, the 5-foot-11, 215-pound first baseman batted .341 with a team-high 11 home runs to go along with 52 RBIs, leading the Seawolves to their second appearance in the NCAA Division II College World Series in school history.
“I feel like I was at Sonoma State for a reason and I got the chance to play, which I’m thankful for,” Dickson said. “The transition from junior college to Sonoma State turned into a great experience.”
Washington baseball coach Rob Fung, who Dickson credits with helping him develop a determined work ethic, thought back to the time he saw first saw Dickson tryout for the Washington varsity team as a freshman.
“I saw him as freshman and after watching him tryout with us, I knew right away we were going to bring him up to the varsity. He just stood out,” Fung said. “By the time he was a sophomore, he was already one of ‘the guys’ and he helped us win a championship.”
During that sophomore year, Dickson had a year to remember, batting .455 with five home runs and 40 RBIs. In the AAA championship in 2006 at AT&T Park, Dickson went 2-for-4 with three RBIs, including a home run that’s still talked about among locals.
“That championship was his breakout game,” Fung said. “It took him awhile to learn and listen, but when he figured out that he wanted to take the next step, he put in a lot of hard work and put his body into the necessary shape. He might have been the one of the best hitters we’ve ever had here.”
While honing in his skills under the guidance of Fung, Dickson, who had another great season in his senior season at Washington, was named AAA Player of the Year in 2008, batting .581 with four homers and 44 RBIs.
“I appreciate what Rob and the coaching staff did for me while I was [at Washington],” Dickson said. “They worked hard with me every day and without them I wouldn’t be ready for what’s happening right now. My experience at George Washington was great and I’ll never forget the great times I had there.”
Dickson and Fung talked about going the junior college route, which led to him going to the College of San Mateo for two seasons. He realized that he had to get it together academically, and learn to be a student.
He did just that, and took his talents to Sonoma State.
Fung cancelled practice one Friday afternoon this season to take his team to San Francisco State, where Dickson was playing, to have his club meet him.
“The kids were excited, even though not many players from this years team played with him,” Fung said. “He’ll forever be a Washington guy.”
Dickson is the third player under Fung’s watch to get drafted by the Dodgers – the other two being Lonnie Jackson and Matt Kauffman.
A lifelong Giants fan, Dickson insists that won’t matter if he happens to play against his childhood team.
“I’ll always be a Giants fan in my heart, but once I step inside the white lines, it’s about playing the game,” Dickson said. “If I’m going against Tim Lincecum, he’s going to try to do what he has to do for his team, and I’m going to do the same thing. I’m going to give it my all.”
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