BOZEMAN — The Washington State baseball program is getting not one Treasure State standout next year, but two.
Kyler Northrop, a product of the Billings Scarlets, and Bryce Hampton, a product of the Bozeman Bucks, will both be heading to Pullman, Wash., to continue their athletic and academic careers next year.
Northrop is a senior at Billings Central, and Hampton is a senior at Bozeman Gallatin. They are teammates during the fall baseball season.
"I remember after our last fall tournament, I was talking to (Hampton)," Northtrop recalled. "I was like, 'Dang, this is going to be our last time we’re playing together,' and he was like, 'Well, we don’t know that for sure.' And a couple weeks later he committed, so I was super excited to see that."
Both take much pride in representing Montana baseball at the next level.
"It’s really good to be able to represent and show the younger community that it can be done," Hampton said. "Kind of be a leader for them, show them what to do, and it’s just really good."
"Yeah, I think it’s really cool to represent your state when there’s not a lot of kids from Montana who are playing at this level," Northtrop explained. "I think it’s even more cool that it’s two of us that know each other, and get to go play together."
They both primarily play shortstop, but are excited to be used wherever is needed in the infield and share the field together.
"I’m really excited to have that chemistry with Kyler, whether we’re competing for the same position or I’m at second, he’s at short," Hampton said. "Just having that chemistry on the field that we’ve made the past few years in fall ball will take us to another level."
The community surrounding the university is what made Washington State stand out most to the duo.
"Just how much the community revolves around the school and sports, how much support you get," Hampton said. "I’m just really excited to be a part of something like that, where everyone’s invested in what you’re doing. Everyone wants you to succeed."
And for Northrop, he took no time knowing that Washington State was the place for him.
"Yeah, I had my list of all the schools I wanted to go to, and they were No. 1 on the list. When I got down there I had a couple other visits planned out, but I didn’t really want to wait because that was my No. 1 place and that’s where I wanted to go," he explained.
As they embark on their next journey, they won't forget their roots. American Legion and Big Sky baseball made them the players they are today, and they will carry that with them to Washington State.
"I’ve seen that there’s a lot of good coaches, a lot of good development," Northtrop said. "I play for the Billings Scarlets, and those coaches do a great job of pushing us, making us work, and getting us better."
"Just having that community around it really helped me as a player gain confidence in who I was, and who I am as a player," Hampton reflected.