Don't let the serious look fool ya -- Ben Petty-Hull is delighted with his life. PHOTO BY ED PIPER
The word “intentional” comes to mind after getting to know a little about Ben Petty-Hull and his family. On the baseball field, La Jolla Country Day School coach John Edman says the multi-position player works hard at everything he does, making the most of his time.
The Petty-Hull family also maximizes its time together intentionally, with Karen Petty and Kevin Hull working 12-hour shifts at Rady Children’s Hospital three nights a week each. She’s a nurse, he’s an X-ray technician.
“My parents sleep during the day, then I get home at 6:30 (after practice), and we spend a few hours together before I do my homework,” says Petty-Hull, his 15 years packed into an efficient 5’6”, 150-pound body. Of course, which parent he spends time with depends on what night of the week it is, according to the Petty-Hulls’ carefully arranged schedule.
On weekends, the family likes to spend time together at the beach; “My dad, my brother (Brady, 10), and I surf all day.” To further maximize time, the Petty-Hulls often eat out, with local Mexican food and sushi being highlights.
While Ben plays two sports at Country Day, including football as a receiver and a safety, he opts to play pretty much every position in baseball, including catcher. He likes it that way. “If I play the outfield for a while, I want to play the infield,” he says. The skills required by one position reinforce what he needs to play another position, he explains, just as his surfing, football and baseball strengthen him and help him transfer skills among the sports.
Says Edman of the focused sophomore: “He is incredibly selfless, hardworking and team-centered. He is the first to help where help is needed and does everything with his best effort. He is really talented, too.” Edman also makes mention of the seven positions Ben plays on the team.
With the Torreys 2-0 early in Coastal Conference play and bearing an 11-6 overall record, Petty-Hull was hitting a solid .281, striking out only three times in 40 plate appearances.
Meanwhile, he seemed composed and adept in people skills, asking his interviewer how long he had been reporting sports and talking about the reporter’s other job (teaching).
Petty-Hull agrees with his baseball coach about maximizing his abilities. “Working hard is definitely part of (my philosophy),” he says. “My brother and I were told (by our parents) we’re probably not going to be the biggest guys, so we’re going to have to work hard for the good things.”
“I’m not the biggest, strongest guy out there, so my work ethic helps get me there.”
Comparing his sports, he says, “They’re all different. Football is more hyped up, rah-rah. You’re looking forward all week to Friday’s game. You play one game a week (instead of multiple games).
“Playing safety, you don’t think. In baseball, it’s not as hyped up. You’re thinking more.”
Petty-Hull built his upper body strength up early on when, at 8 and 9, he surfed nearly every day for a year and half. He says that strength, developed from paddling constantly, provided him a key tool in his athleticism.
The Petty-Hull parents, professionals in the medical field, are acutely aware of the dangers in tackle football, according to their older son. He says that, as a result, neither he nor Brady have been allowed to play tackle until high school, a decision he seems to be okay with. Brady is presently playing flag football.
A profession in the medical field could be in his future as well (his maternal grandfather is a doctor).