Dalen Thompson is going to the next level, but he will be staying close to home. Triton held a signing ceremony on Friday for Thompson, who followed through on a commitment he made to play baseball at Campbell on August 4, 2019.
Thompson has played shortstop and also has held down the closer role for the Hawks. He projects as a middle infielder on the next level.
Playing in the Dirtbags travel program has allowed Thompson to see elite competition in Alabama, Florida and Georgia.
Thompson, the son of Brian and Krystal Thompson, played football, basketball and baseball at Dunn Middle School. After playing all three sports as a freshman at Triton, he narrowed his focus to baseball and basketball with the Hawks.
Thompson started as a freshman for Triton and hit .333. He hit .340 as a sophomore when the Hawks improved their record from 2-20 to 11-10. His junior season spanned just four games due to the shutdown for COVID-19, but Thompson was hitting .500 (6-for-12) when play was halted.
Thompson, who wears jersey No. 1, had a 3.82 earned run average in five mound appearances as a sophomore. His fast ball tops out at 88 miles per hour.
Thompson has 21 stolen bases for Triton, going 13-for-13 on steal attempts as a sophomore.
The summer after his sophomore season, Joey Miriello, who coached Thompson at Triton in 2017 and 2018, helped him get selected to play in the State Games. That exposure and his performance helped legitimize Thompson’s potential on the next level.
“Recruiting picked up heavy after the State Games,” Thompson said. “I started talking to Campbell a lot.”
Thompson received interest from other programs but Campbell extended the only offer. He wants to study sports management in Buies Creek.
“I love the facilities and the program,” Thompson said. “It’s a great school. The coaches are great coaches. The tradition there, what they’ve done so far, I just loved it — so I chose Campbell.”
The Camels were 7-9 during an abbreviated season in 2020. In the last full season under coach Justin Haire in 2019, Campbell was 37-21 with a win over N.C. State in the Greenville regional of the NCAA Tournament.
Thompson has had support at home.
“My parents have sacrificed a lot,” Thompson said. “Whether it was work or money, they found a way to do it. They’ve taken me places and always been there supporting me. My dad has helped, working me out. My mom has been there. Even my little brother has been there, keeping me encouraged.”
Kole Thompson is s sixth-grader at Dunn Middle School.
Jake Willis became head coach at Triton prior to the 2020 season after serving as an assistant for the Hawks.
“Dalen started my first year here, as a freshman,” Willis said. “It’s been a pleasure, watching him grow and become the athlete and talent that he is. He didn’t get much of a year last year but I’m really looking forward to seeing what he’ll be able to do this year on the field. He was putting up some good numbers last year before we had to call it quits.”
Willis played on the college level at Barton and he talked about the tools that make Thompson a next-level prospect.
“Definitely his speed and his hands, defensively and at the plate,” Willis said. “He’s got lightning-quick hands. He’s got the ability to change the game on the basepaths and on the field.
“He’s one of those players who can change the game immediately with his athleticism and his work ethic just continues to get better and better each year. He’ll be fun to watch.”
The future Camel’s attributes aren’t limited to his athletic ability.
“Campbell got a great baseball player and young man,” Miriello said.