Today Ridge Hoopii-Haslam is going to school and hitting home runs for Luna Community College. Soon he will be doing the same at Oklahoma Baptist University.
Hoopii-Haslam, a sports performance major, signed a national letter of intent to play baseball for Oklahoma Baptist next season. More importantly, OBU is considered one of the best in the entire nation by The Princeton Review.
“I feel great and humble about this achievement,” said Hoopi-Haslam. “Coming from the islands in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, this has been a big change of environment.
Luna Community College will always be in my roots. I will always consider Luna Community College my home.”
Hoopii-Haslam is a native of Hilo, Hawaii. He made his way to LCC in August of 2011.
“A lot of coaches recommended my name and Luna Community College came up,” said Hoopii-Haslam. “A lot of my high school teammates attended west coast schools and paid a lot in tuition. I thought it would be good to play in New Mexico and make a name for myself and help build a foundation here.”
As of April 11, Hoopii-Haslam’s .504 batting average is second in the National Junior College Athletic Association; his six home runs ranks 17th.
“I feel honored and blessed to attend a four-year university to continue my education and play the sport that I love,” said Hoopii-Haslam.
Hoopii-Haslam is expecting to play second base and hit in the third spot offensively.
Tuition at Oklahoma Baptist University is $28,202 a year. Hoopii-Haslam’s scholarship will cover the majority of it.
“I can’t thank the Luna Community College faculty enough for their help and their honesty with me,” said Hoopii-Haslam. “Seeing people smiling every day is something that I love. Where I’m from, my high school was small like Luna Community College. I like the family atmosphere here. This college and special town will surely be missed.”
It was not uncommon to see Hoopii-Haslam give the extra effort since arriving at Luna.
“Hard work pays off,” said Hoopii-Haslam. “I want to share this with other people and younger generations who will come after me. Anything is possible. I’ve been playing baseball since I was three years old. I don’t go a day without dreaming that I will play major league baseball at some point.”
Don’t be surprised if Hoopii-Haslam’s phone rings in the 2013 Major League draft. Scouts see the potential in him, even at 5-9, as a professional player.
“Basically, they have told me that I can play for my size,” said Hoopii-Haslam.
Even if he does get drafted, it would be his decision whether to stay in school.
Oklahoma Baptist is located in Shawnee, Okla. It is located 35 miles east of Oklahoma City. It has an enrollment of 1,979 students and has a 16-1 student to faculty ratio. OBU consistently is ranked in the Forbes.com listing of America’s Best Colleges.
“Coming from a buddy of mine that went to school there, Oklahoma Baptist is a well-rounded university,” said Hoopii-Haslam.
Hoopii-Haslam got close with his teammates and coaches while at Luna.
“I am going to miss my brothers that I shared a lot of memories with,” he said. “I want to give them a big thank you. I want to thank Coach Antonio Siqueiros and Coach Darren Wheat for giving me the opportunity to play college baseball and help me achieve my goals."