West De Pere’s Hampton feels at home with Booyah
By Rich Palzewic
ASHWAUBENON – Ben Hampton, a 2020 West De Pere High School graduate, said he’s happy to sleep in his own bed at night.
Hampton, now playing for the Green Bay Booyah, is a left-handed pitcher heading to West Virginia University (WVU) on a baseball scholarship.
“It’s cool I get this opportunity,” he said. “It’s nice I can stay at home and have my family and friends come watch me play. I know some of my teammates were a little worried (about the COVID-19 pandemic), so it’s a bonus for me staying at home. I can relax there and be safe.”
When Hampton was going to West De Pere, he said he thought about playing for the Bullfrogs/Booyah someday, but wasn’t sure it would ever happen.
“I’m thankful for the people who got me into the Northwoods League,” said Hampton, who throws in the upper 80s.
He said the team is doing a great job keeping everyone safe.
“The fans are separated, so that’s good,” said Hampton. “We sit apart on the bus as well. The team playing gives fans something to come out and watch. They can do it responsibly and safely. We have a responsibility to lead by example. We are proof sporting events can happen, and this is what it looks like.”
The Booyah allow about 1,000 fans into each game, socially distancing them throughout the stadium to help prevent the spread of COVID-19.
Hampton said he is looking forward to the rest of the season and will do everything in his power to play immediately at WVU.
“I’ll work hard and do everything I’m asked, whether that means as a starter or a reliever,” he said. “I don’t plan on redshirting (my freshman season), but I’ll do whatever the team thinks is best.”
He said his move-in date at WVU is Aug. 14, so there might be some overlap with the Green Bay season.
“I’m not sure what will happen quite yet,” said Hampton. “There are still some questions on whether I’ll go then or stay for the end of the season here.”
The Booyah’s regular season ends Aug. 20.
As of July 14, Hampton has appeared in three games out of the bullpen, giving up four earned runs in five innings pitched.
He has walked four and struck out nine.