White Rock Tritons rookie swinging for the fences
Have bat, will travel.
That has been something of a motto for White Rock Tritons’ outfielder Quin Hall, who has his fair share of miles under his feet for someone who has only played organized baseball for five years.
The 16-year-old slugger began playing at age 11 – years later than most of his teammates – in his hometown of Nelson, and in the years that followed, he moved down the road about an hour, to a more competitive team in Trail, that played on the U.S.-based American Legion baseball circuit, while also suiting up for various select tournaments with a squad based out of Spokane, Wash.
And now, he’s here on the Semiahmoo Peninsula with the Tritons – the first “full-time” team he’s been on in years.
“Before, a lot of the teams were tournament teams, things like that. This is the first time I’ve been on a team for a (full) season,” explained Hall, who chose between joining White Rock and the rival Langley Blaze this off-season, in part because of his prior relationship with Tritons’ general manager Marty Lehn.
“I knew Marty from different tournaments and from his (Big League Experience) baseball camps he runs in Oliver every summer. I just wanted to play baseball, and playing in the PBL, it’s a great opportunity for me – a lot of guys get scouted from here.”
Another reason for choosing the Tritons over the Blaze, Hall said, was the opportunity to grow with a team of players in his age group, as opposed to simply being one of a handful of good players on a Blaze team usually stocked with older, equally talented players.
“I’ve never really fit into my age group – a lot of the time, I played against older players, college guys. I’ve never really had a league of my own,” he said.
The idea of Hall planting his own flag, so to speak, extends to life away from the ballpark, too.
Prior to the school year, the teen moved, along with his dad, to the Peninsula, just a few blocks away from not only the Tritons’ home park, but also Semiahmoo Secondary, where he’s in Grade 11.
“I moved away from my mother, my girlfriend and all my friends back home, so my first two weeks here at school, that was a bit of a rough start,” he said. “But in a sense, I think it was also kind of good to get away from all that, and make my own way a little bit, and take some steps. Out here, I feel like I can do that.
“I’m out here with my dad, and we’re doing good, and fitting in. I’ve got my team, we’ve got new friends, and he’s got a great new job now. It’s great.”
On the field, Hall has made quite a first impression not just on his Tritons’ teammates and coaches – led by head coach Russ Smithson – but the league as a whole. A month into the season, Hall is tied for the league-lead in home runs with two – both came in the same game against Nanaimo in late April – and leads the PBL with 17 runs-batted-in.
Home runs are often hard to come by in the PBL, a wood-bat league, and Smithson has repeatedly been left in awe of Hall’s power. In fact, it was a homer Hall hit during a fall tournament in Portland that led to the team offering him a permanent spot on the roster for the spring.
Of the outfielder’s two dingers in Nanaimo, the longtime coach said they were “crushed… not even close.”
After that game, Smithson told Peace Arch News it’d been a long time since he’d seen a PBL player with that much power, noting the only two-home-run game he could remember was two seasons ago, when former Tritons’ catcher Dylan Yeager put two over the fence.
“He’s been great. I can’t say enough good things about the kid,” Smithson said of Hall.
Hall – who played hockey and basketball growing up, in addition to baseball – says a lot of his power at the plate comes naturally, though he’s also put in plenty of hard work to get to the level he’s currently at.
“You’ve got to work on it. It’s not just raw power or anything. You have to work, and I’ve trained pretty hard most of my life. My power has always been there, I think, but I’ve also worked on my swing a lot, too,” he said.
“It’s timing. I swing fast all the time, so when you do that, you’ve got to have your timing down, or you aren’t going to hit anything.”
And while Hall’s power is likely to garner him attention moving forward – both from opposing pitchers, as well as scouts – he insists he’s not worrying much about the future, even if a college scholarship is his goal down the road.
“Right now, I just kind of go out and play, and let the rest of it take care of itself.”