HATTIESBURG, MS (WLOX) - Old Dominion senior outfielder and designated hitter Ben Slaton started out as a power hitter for the Ocean Springs Greyhounds in high school.
Then it was a trip north on Highway 49 for a stop at Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College.
After two years in Perkinston, Slaton joined the Old Dominion Monarchs baseball team for his junior and senior years of college. Despite the majority of those last two years in Virginia, his college career came to an end in his home state of Mississippi.
At the Conference USA tournament in Hattiesburg this week, Slaton's Old Dominion team took the always potent Rice Owls to an uncomfortable position: an elimination game.
While Rice ended up winning the conference tourney, Slaton's last college games happened in front of friends and family. His older sister, Cassie, played at Perk as well and claims to be the reason Ben chose the JUCO route.
"We kind of didn't get to go to all of our high school together because he moved to McComb for a little bit," Cassie Slaton said. "So we were saying, 'Yay, we get to have one more year together.' He was on the baseball team and I was with softball so it was really fun."
"She was a year ahead of me in school and of course she went to Gulf Coast to play softball," Ben Slaton said. "That's something I wanted to do as well but go to Gulf Coast and play baseball. That was an awesome experience and getting to play with her and see her (in Hattiesburg) cheering me on."
Everywhere he went, Ben was considered a standup guy and the ultimate teammate. In fact, just listen to what Old Dominion head coach Chris Finwood has to say about him, and those thoughts will be confirmed.
"First of all, he's a wonderful teammate," Finwood said. "He's had two really productive years for us mainly as a designated hitter. He does everything right. He goes to class, he's a great teammate and he works hard.
"You can't say anything but great things about Ben Slaton. He's a great guy. He's one of our leaders. The best thing about him is that he does everything right."