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On the mound or in his unnatural batter’s box, Providence’s Brady Thompson can do it all

Brady Thompson is right-handed, but he hits from the lefty’s side of the batter’s box.

The UNC Wilmington-bound baseball player is a standout pitcher at Providence High, in addition to being one of the most effective bats in its lineup. Thompson is naturally a righty — he whizzes fastballs past opposing hitters with his glove on his left hand — but has always taken his hacks from the other side.

It all started when his father, Travis Thompson, handed him a red bat in the back yard and encouraged him to develop a lefty swing. By the time he got into T-ball, the younger Thompson was already comfortable batting as a lefty.

“I remember putting my hands on the bat as a righty,” the Panthers’ senior recalled. “But my dad would always switch my hands around to be a lefty.”

Thompson, who had just pitched five innings and drove in three of Providence’s runs, was quickly surrounded by his teammates right after a 9-4 victory over a strong Hopewell team. Many of the jubilant Panthers held out their arms to mimic microphones in front of a smiling Thompson.

He’s passionate about playing for Providence, which is also Travis Thompson’s alma mater.

Dad was a minor leaguer and state champ at Providence

The two-way star’s father won the 1995 state championship with the Panthers and went on to pitch for East Carolina. He was drafted by the Colorado Rockies and played nine seasons in the minor leagues.

“My dad, he got drafted out of college and he’s always put me in the backyard with a bat,” Thompson said. “He would always put me as a left-handed hitter. I was born a right-handed hitter, but he made me a left-handed hitter. We just played in the backyard all day.

Providence Panthers pitcher Brady Thompson, center/right, listens to head coach Danny Hignight, back to camera, during a visit to the mound on Friday, April 12, 2024. Providence hosted Hopewell in prep baseball action.
Providence Panthers pitcher Brady Thompson, center/right, listens to head coach Danny Hignight, back to camera, during a visit to the mound on Friday, April 12, 2024. Providence hosted Hopewell in prep baseball action.

“He told me that (Providence is) gonna compete. They’re gonna go out every day and work very hard for Coach (Danny) Hignight, and he’s gonna put his all for the guys.”

When Hignight — in his 21st season as Providence’s manager — was in high school, he played against Travis Thompson in the state playoffs.

The elder Thompson’s Panthers faced Hignight when the future skipper was playing at Alexander Central High in Taylorsville. The matchup came during Providence’s 1995 state title run.

Hignight connected with Thompson when he took the reins at Providence, looking to build up the community around the program and maintain traditions. Hignight has known Brady Thompson since he was about 10 years old.

Providence Panthers pitcher Brady Thompson delivers a pitch to a Hopewell batter during action on Friday, April 12, 2024.
Providence Panthers pitcher Brady Thompson delivers a pitch to a Hopewell batter during action on Friday, April 12, 2024.

Thompson and surging Panthers look for school’s fourth N.C. title

In addition to the 1995 triumph that Travis Thompson was apart of, the South Charlotte powerhouse won state championships in 2015 and 2022. The former set North Carolina’s record for wins in a single season. The latter shattered that.

After defeating Lake Norman in a 3-0 shutout on Saturday afternoon, the Panthers (14-3) have now won 14 of their past 15 — including five in a row — since dropping the opening two games of the season to Weddington and Marvin Ridge.

“Everyone’s doubted us as we lost the first two games,” Thompson said. “But we have come back and competed for the rest of the year. We’re keeping it rolling.

“This is the tightest team we’ve had for a while. We’ve been together forever. We go out every Wednesday to eat wings and stuff. We do everything together. I wouldn’t rather play for any other team.”