Ever since he started playing baseball at 8 years old, Moscow’s Hayden Thompson hoped to play at the next level.
That dream became a reality Tuesday when Thompson signed to play baseball at Walla Walla Community College.
Thompson said he didn’t know what to expect when he went to a tryout practice with the team, but once he was playing with the guys, everything came together.
“Obviously, this is kind of a once-in-a-lifetime deal,” Thompson said. “Once (they) offered and I got to know the guys, I felt great — like I met a new family.”
Thompson, a left-handed pitcher, outfielder and first baseman, plays for the Bears and the Moscow Blue Devils, an American Legion team.
Last summer, the Blue Devils went on a 16-0 run and earned a berth to the state tournament. Moscow’s season ended in a 11-8 loss to Idaho Falls. Moscow also suffered a narrow 4-3 loss at state to Burley, which also made the title game.
“We had a great experience,” Thompson said.
Thompson said he’s dabbled in football and basketball, but baseball always was his main sport. He plays year-round now: the Bears in the spring, the Devils in the summer and a local fall-ball team.
“Baseball has kind of been (the) main sport of my whole family,” Thompson said. “I like the aspect of making a diving catch or hitting a home run, or running a ball down that was hard to catch. Especially being a pitcher, the thrill of striking someone out or throwing a good game. It just feels good.”
Thompson said he realized he might have a shot at the next level after attending a Washington State prospects camp. The Cougs liked what they saw.
“I lost hope at one point and at a WSU prospect camp, they really liked me and said if I was to build up some muscle mass and go through a juco, they would (consider a scholarship offer),” Thompson said. “So I really had a shot.”
At Walla Walla, Thompson likely will be utilized as an outfielder and pitcher, he said. Before then, he’ll have another high school and Legion season to improve on his .380 batting average during the summer.
“I’m going to keep playing high school ball and I get to play for the Blue Devils for two more years, so that will be nice,” Thompson said. “I just want to thank all my coaches, my parents, all my family members and Moscow itself — the whole community.
“They really pushed me, so the credit goes to them.”
Stephan Wiebe can be reached at email@example.com and on Twitter at @StephanSports.