Nick Rau steadily is on pace to become what he set out to do in life when he was just a little boy.
His goal: Become a Major League Baseball player.
Now 18 and a rising senior at Thomson High School, Rau is hoping for another big season next year -- even bigger than the one he experienced this year when he helped the Bulldogs to the semifinals of the Georgia Class AAA State Baseball Playoffs.
"That's something I've wanted to do since I was 5 years old and playing T-Ball at Sweetwater Park in Thomson," said Rau during a recent interview with The McDuffie Mirror . "I'd love it if my dream comes true to play Major League Baseball someday."
Rau, the son of Carl Rau and Joann Hunt, both of Thomson, already is considered among top college prospects in the area.
He already has verbally committed to playing baseball at Georgia Southern University in Statesboro following graduation from Thomson High School.
"I committed to play for the Eagles about a month ago, said Rau.
Several other college baseball teams also have expressed interest in Rau, Thomson's star shortstop, who also pitches, too. He has received letters from South Carolina, Clemson, Florida State, Virginia, Virginia Tech and the University of Pennsylvania.
"It's a good feeling knowing all of those schools are interested in me," added Rau. "I want to play college baseball and then hopefully get a shot at making it to the pros. If that happens, my dream would have come true."
This past season, Rau received an assortment of honors for his talent on the baseball diamond. He was named First Team 3-AAA All-Region player and just returned from a week-long trip to McAlester, Oklahoma where he played for the prestigious Team Georgia.
Rau was one of 20 prep baseball players from across the Peach State chosen to play on Team Georgia.
"It was a real big honor for me to play for Team Georgia," said Rau. "It was a great experience and a lot of fun."
During the week-long national baseball tournament, known as the Junior Sunbelt Classic, Team Georgia played a total of 10 games. They wound up winning eight of the games they played.
Rau, meanwhile, drilled a pair of three-run homers during his out-of-the-state trip.
"They were pretty big homers," recalled Rau.
One of the homers sailed deep over the left centerfield fence with a distance of more than 420 feet.
"It was one of the longest homers I've ever hit," said Rau. "It felt really good when I hit it."
He admitted playing in the Junior Sunbelt Classic earned him a lot of exposure.
It marked the second time in his prep career that he has seen national spotlight. The first time came following his sophomore season.
He was one of 150 prep baseball players showcased in the Under Armour All-American Tournament.
Again this year, he was selected to play, but because of prior commitments wasn't able to do so.
This past season at Thomson High School, Rau along with teammate Will Tankersley led the team in the homerun department. Each of them clobbered 13 homers. Rau also finished the season with an impressive average of .471.
Rau is determined to focus on his promising baseball career and therefore has decided not to play football in the fall.
"I don't want to risk getting hurt," said Rau.
"That's why I'm not going to play football my senior year."