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Men's Baseball Blog

October baseball blog

Oct 03, 2016 - Posted by Ralph R. Zobell at 12:18 pm | Updated: October 6, 2016 10:58 am | Permalink

UPCOMING SCRIMMAGES:  On Saturday, Oct. 8, BYU has a 14-inning (yes, 14 innings) baseball exhibition at 10 a.m. ET at Michigan State’s at McLane Stadium, and the Cougar football team plays MSU at 3:30 p.m. ET. Fans can listen live to the play-by-play of the BYU-MSU baseball scrimmage through this link.

On Friday, Oct. 14 at 4 p.m., it will be the annual Blue/White game at Miller Park. On Thursday, Oct. 27, BYU will have a scrimmage with Salt Lake Community College.

GOLF OUTING:  More than 50 former BYU baseball players participated in last month’s annual golf tournament at TalonsCove Golf Course in Saratoga Springs prior to having an alumni game and attending the UCLA-BYU football game. The foursome of Todd & Tyson Rogers, Perry Bronson and Kendrick Martinez won the scramble.

GOLF STORIES: Here are some stories picked up prior to players’ foursomes teeing off at TalonsCove.  Former catcher Lars Birkland was joined by his brother Brett, who ran track for BYU from 2009-2010. Former catcher/DH Michael Davies retired just shy of 20 years with the U.S. Department of Defense where he learned Korean and Chinese. Davies, who interned with BYU Athletic Media Relations, now has more hair in his beard than he had on his head as a player. 

MORE GOLF STORIES: Former KSL-TV news anchor and BYU pitcher Scott Haws uses his talents now to pitch multimillion dollar homes for Narr8media.  Former All-American outfielder Ben Saylor still teaches hitting lessons and sells educational tools called Tales4Teaching. Former relief pitcher J.D. Stambaugh flew in from Memphis, Tennessee, where he is a financial planner for Raymond James & Associates and attended last year’s BYU baseball series at Samford in Alabama.

BROADCASTER BRENT: Brent Norton says he plans to do BYU radio play-by-play broadcasts for his 25th year, including some games from the UC Santa Barbara series and the recently announced Oregon game in Provo. Norton also adds the recent golf scramble had a “nice touch,” where he was paired with Spencer Linton, the BYUtv voice of Cougar baseball and long-time BYU baseball player Jeff Bills and his coach Glen Tuckett, who combined for 13-under, but “out of the money.”

ALUMNI GAME: There were enough former players on hand to field teams for an alumni game, which was won 3-1 thanks to a two-run homer by Brock Whitney. Among those who played in that alumni game were pitchers Mark Anderson, Paul Jacinto, Anthony Bingham and Brandon Kinser (who touched 89 mph), who paid the price the next day for throwing so many pitches. Also playing in that game were former players Kevin Bills, Brandon Taylor, Kory Knell, Ryan Chambers, Lars Birkland, Michel Bergeron and Jake Stubblefield.

MARRIED LAST SUMMER:  Four current Cougars got married over the summer: Tanner Chauncey, Brock Hale, Mason Marshall and Jordan Wood.

DATE SET FOR JANUARY BANQUET: Make plans to attend the Annual First Pitch Dinner on Jan. 27 (Friday) at the NuSkin Building.

DIPLOMA: Assistant Coach Brent Haring spoke last month at the Pleasant Grove High School Seminary FEAST (“friends eating and sharing testimonies”).  At the beginning of his remarks, he mentioned one of his regrets was that he did not graduate from Seminary.  Haring got surprised when former BYU pitcher Marc Oslund, who teaches at that Seminary, presented him with a diploma signed by Oslund.

May Baseball Blog

May 05, 2016 - Posted by Ralph R. Zobell at 2:24 pm | Updated: May 6, 2016 7:59 pm | Permalink

MORE MISSIONARY NEWS:  Easton Walker received his mission call to Cusco, Peru, joining Bryan Call who has his call to Taiwan and Jackson Cluff who has his call to Atlanta, Ga.

ANOTHER ENGAGED PLAYER:  Brock Hale is the latest Cougar engaged to be married this summer.

SOUTHERN BBQ:  An item from last February is that the father's of Noah Hill and Casey Jacobsen drove to Birmingham, Alabama, pulling a BBQ smoker and prepared brisket, pork and ribs for the Cougars after one of their games against Samford.

WALK-UP MUSIC:  Here's the names of walkup songs (the non-R rated segments) for several of the BYU Cougars:

ESPNU ANNOUNCER:  The play-by-play announcer for the May 21 game on ESPNU against Santa Clara is expected to be Mike Couzens. Couzens was a play-by-play broadcaster for the Big Ten Network and also served as the broadcasting and media relations manager for the Fort Wayne TinCaps, the Single-A affiliate of the San Diego Padres.  The color analyst is yet to be named.

CENATIEMPO & FATHER:  Keaton Cenatiempo says he and his father Kris, who played baseball at Washington State in 1986, have competed on seven of the same college fields.  They are BYU, Pepperdine, Gonzaga, Cal Poly Pomona, San Diego State, Portland and Cal State Northridge.

SUMMER BALL ASSIGNMENTS:  Here are the summer ball assignments for some of the Cougars once they finish with the work at hand this season:  

WRISTBANDS FOR RILEY:  Actually the Cougars started wearing orange wristbands and writing the initials K.G. on their hats in support of  Kennadi, the 10-year-old sister of pitcher Riley Gates who was diagnosed last month with leukemia. The players and coaches also have the initials K.G. on their hats.

SANS STACHES:  Following the series losses at Saint Mary's and against Creighton all of the Cougars shaved their mustaches, but say #mustachemafia will return when they get an NCAA Regional bid.

April Baseball Blog

Apr 07, 2016 - Posted by Ralph R. Zobell at 11:10 am | Permalink

CONGRATULATIONS: Trent Pratt was named assistant coach of the year at the Y Awards last month.

MISSIONARY NEWS: Jackson Cluff received his mission call to Atlanta, Georgia, reporting to the MTC the day after the College World Series ; Bryan Call has his mission papers in process. Word is Danny Gelalich and Easton Walker may soon be processing missionary papers.

ENGAGED: Tanner Chauncey, Grant Hodges, Mason Marshall, Rhett Parkinson and Jordan Wood all are engaged to be married this summer after the season ends.

MARRIED PLAYERS: There are six married players on the team: Keaton Cenatiempo, Hayden Nielsen, Hayden Rogers, Mike Rucker, Eric Urry, and Connor Williams all of whom wear a silicon wedding ring on game days, as do the BYU coaches. The flexible silicon ring is more comfortable to wear under gloves and when hitting than the regular gold band.

SPECIAL VISIT IN PORTLAND: Some of the BYU entourage made a trip to the home Nike Employee Store in Portland for extra gear.

HELPING CHILDREN: At Primary Children's Hospital, five players went to Salt Lake City: Casey Jacobsen, Noah Hill, Jordan Wood, Rhett Parkinson and Jackson Cluff. Coaches Brent Haring and Mike Littlewood, along with Scott VanPelt from NuSkin also participated. They played bingo with 100 other patients on closed-circuit TV along with five patients in person, to whom they told jokes and sang songs.

COUGARS IN PRO RANKS: Former Cougars have now received their pro assignments: Jaycob Brugman AA Midland, Texas (Oakland A's); Jacob Hannemann to the AA Tennessee Smokies (Chicago Cubs); Taylor Cole AA rehabbing injured shoulder (Toronto Blue Jays); Adam Miller AA Mobile, Alabama (Arizona Diamonbacks); Kolton Mahoney staying in Tampa Bay for extended spring training (New York Yankees); Adam Law AA Tulsa, Oklahoma (Los Angeles Dodgers); Jeremy Guthrie AAA El Paso Texas (San Diego Padres) and Coach Littlewood's son Marcus to AA in Jackson, Tennessee (Seattle Mariners).

WHAT IS A FIRESIDE: A color analyst asked in preparation for video stream of BYU's Friday game at Portland, "What is a fireside?," after he read about a fireside the Cougars held in Alabama. So we sent him the following response: A fireside is generally an evening meeting not in the traditional three meetings on Sunday with our faith. Sometimes they are held on mornings as part of the weekday seminary program before regular school begins. Usually a fireside is held on a Sunday night and is a meeting for the youth. No fire is present, but the term probably evolved from meeting in someone's home with a fireplace. They can be as large as a Sunday gathering in the 18,987-seat Marriott Center where we play basketball. Or they can be at any Mormon meetinghouse, sometimes referred to as a stake center (not steak, rather like a stake holding down a tent). Former BYU baseball coach Glen Tuckett adds the term fireside perhaps got its origin from U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt's Fireside Chats.

WHAT IS AN RM? Players not of the Mormon faith learn quickly about LDS (Latter-day Saint) terms like FHE (Family Home Evening) and RM (returned missionary). However, some reporters and broadcasters recently have made mistakes referring to Cougars Brennon Lund and Colton Shaver as returned missionaries. Both are RM's, but you decide what the "M" should stand for, returning monster…?

URRY's GRANDFATHER IN COLLEGE WORLD SERIES: Eric Urry's grandfather Herb Urry played for the 1951 University of Utah baseball team that was 2-2 in the College World Series. Herb, who passed away last year, was a left-handed pitcher for the Utes. Urry's father found several copies of a 1951 notebook that had been prepared celebrating that event and shared copies with us.

PALYMRA, N.Y.: Niagara’s head coach was mystified along with his team about what a BYU radio announcer said regarding the hometown of the New York-based team pitcher hailing from Palmyra, “this was probably the only stadium (Miller Park) in the country where fans know exactly where Palmyra is and over half of them have been there.”

March Baseball Blog

Mar 10, 2016 - Posted by Ralph R. Zobell at 3:45 pm | Updated: March 10, 2016 5:13 pm | Permalink
APRIL GRADUATION: Senior outfielder Eric Urry is graduating in psychology and team manager Brett Adams is graduating in with his master's in public administration this April season, 15-16. Former BYU baseball players also graduating in April include Andy Isom, Jarrett Jarvis, Derek Speigner and Parker Starr.
HOSPITAL VISITS:  On the morning of March 23, members of BYU's baseball team will be at Primary Children's Hospital in Salt Lake City reading to patients. Earlier this month a dozen of BYU's team joined the coaching staff on a visit to the Primary Children's Unit at Utah Valley Regional Medical Center.
ALABAMA FIRESIDE:  Urry, Hayden Nielsen and Mike Rucker spoke at the team's fireside last month in Birmingham, Alabama.
GLOVES WITH FLAGS:  The Lone Star flag of Texas adorns the gloves of pitcher Triston Busse and infielder/catcher Noah Hill.  On Urry's glove is flag symbol of the Dominican Republic where he served a mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. On the glove of pitcher Mason Marshall is a replica of the flag of the Philippines where he served his mission. 
CHAUNCEY IN ESPN MAGAZINE: You can attribute a couple stories in this month's issue of ESPN Magazine about Bryce Harper of the Washington Nationals to BYU's Tanner Chauncey who grew up with Harper.  Click on this link.
MATCH NICKNAMES: Can you match the nicknames of Mantis, Giraffe, Baby Rhino and Chief to the following BYU players? Marshall, Keaton Cenatiempo, Hayden Rogers and Nielsen.
BUFFALO BUFFO: Maverik Buffo rides a big Honda motorcycle when he isn't going to class or pitching baseballs. A closer look at his cycle shows a flattened Buffalo-head nickel coin as a fastener/clasp on the pouch atop the gas tank.  That Buffalo-head nickel was already installed on the motorcycle before he bought it.
MUSTACHES:  Several of BYU's team have been sporting mustaches. One player who started out doing so was Colton Shaver, but "Shave" shaved it off in Las Vegas last month when he went hitless in a game against Saint Louis and remains clean shaven now that his bat has come alive.
MORE MUSTACHES: More players are joining the mustache ranks on the team as part of the #mustachemafia hashtag on Twitter.  The word is those sporting the hairy upper lip won't shave them off until the Cougars lose a weekend series.

February Baseball Blog

Feb 23, 2016 - Posted by Ralph R. Zobell at 1:58 am | Updated: February 23, 2016 4:35 pm | Permalink
FEBRUARY FIRESIDE: The entire BYU baseball team will participate in a Fireside on February 27 at 6 p.m., in Alabama at the Birmingham Stake Center at 2780 Altadena Road Birmingham, Alabama 35243
TEAM MUSTACHES:  You may not be able to see some of the mustaches trying to be sported by members of BYU's baseball team.  Many of the team decided to grow the mustaches as part of team unification.
GRANDSON NUMBER ONE:  Coach Mike Littlewood recently welcomed the addition of Rory, grandson number one (grandchild No. 3) as the coach flew home from Las Vegas to get a little more time with the new arrival before the Cougars flew to Alabama.
CHAUNCEY & BRYCE HARPER: Boyhood friend Tanner Chauncey could be referenced a couple times in the March MLB article about Bryce Harper in ESPN Magazine. In mid-February Chauncey was interviewed for about 30 minutes by reporter Tim Keown. It could include stories about the two attending early-morning Seminary in Las Vegas, double-dating, or how their mothers chat. Chauncey's parents were joined by Harper's parents as they watched Tanner play in BYU's doubleheader at Las Vegas against Saint Louis University. Also watching the BYU-SLU series in Las Vegas was Chauncey's grandmother, a Georgia native with a southern accent and a history of playing softball.
PARENTS IN LAS VEGAS:  Several players parents were in the stands at Cashman Field in Las Vegas.  Among them were those of Brennon Anderson, Chauncey, Jackson Cluff, Kyle Dean, Nate Favero, Riley Gates, Brock Hale, Noah Hill, Court Iorg, Brennon Lund, Hayden NielsenMichael Rucker, Daniel Schneemann, Eric Urry, Easton Walker, Jordan Wood and Colton Shaver. Among the former Cougar players in attendance in addition to Paul Cluff and Dane Iorg were Jeff Hiestand, Adam Law and Wade Vest.
ESPN3 AT KANSAS:  Don't be confused, you cannot watch ESPN3 on your TV set unless you hook up your computer to your monitor, but you will be able to watch the video stream of all three of BYU's games against Kansas in early March.  There will be no video of BYU's games in Alabama streamed through Samford University's system, but there will be audio streaming of the first three games from Birmingham.  Several BYU's home games on prior to BYUtv televising the March 17 game against Pacific in Provo.
BYU RADIO BROADCASTS:  Veteran radio announcer Brent Norton will be calling the play-by-play for all of BYU's league games.  A recent decision was made for Norton to broadcast the third and fourth games of the Niagara series, the Arizona game and the entire Creighton series along with the Utah series all on ESPN Radio 960 AM and Sirius Satellite 143.
ESPNU: The West Coast Conference just notified BYU that its final game of the regular season will be televised by ESPNU on May 21, moving the game in Provo vs. Santa Clara from 1 p.m. that Saturday to 6 p.m. MDT.
ADAMS IN SAUDI ARABIA: Former Cougar outfielder Stu Adams (1985-86) took part of his February vacation from Saudi Arabia to visit his son Brett at practices for the BYU baseball team in the Indoor Practice Facility. Adams told of how he has taken up scuba diving in the Red Sea as a diversion from his civil engineering work where he also serves as a counselor in the branch presidency in Yanbu. Adams is just finishing a two-year commitment in Saudi Arabia.
MOVES TO UTAH:  At least two BYU baseball player's parents have moved to Utah since they were recruited in high school.  Jordan Wood's parents moved from Friendswood, Texas to Highland, Utah while he was serving a mission to England.  Jackson Cluff's parents recently moved from Meridian, Idaho to Tooele, Utah.
FUNGO COLLECTION: Perhaps you've seen the framed collection of 24 fungo bats in the background of an interview with BYU coach Mike Littlewood.  Among the orange, blue, black, natural wood and teal-colored fungoes is his first fungo bat from his Alta High School coaching days in the 1990s.
YOURS TRULY: There are a couple social media sites where you can get BYU baseball news, among them are @BYUbaseball on Twitter and Facebook. If you wish, add my Twitter handle @RalphZobell to those you follow.  Years ago, I was the original full-time "Twitterer" for the BYU Athletic Department until a full-time social media specialist was hired.  Until this past summer, I Tweeted for @BYUbaseball which is now handled by the specialists' office, so I created @RalphZobell for those who want more information on Cougar Baseball than is available elsewhere.  You could also add the Twitter handles of our coaches: @Ybaseballcoach, @bharing3, @tp_pratt and @JT_BYUBASEBALL.
REPRESENTATIVE OF COLLEGE WORLD SERIES: We recently learned Eric Urry's Grandpa, the late Herbert Urry was on the College World Series baseball team with the University of Utah in 1951 when the Utes split with the University of Tennessee, beat Texas A & M and lost to USC.​

January Baseball Blog

Jan 19, 2016 - Posted by Ralph R. Zobell at 10:26 am | Updated: January 19, 2016 10:43 am | Permalink

NEW COUGARS:  Left-handed pitchers Bo Burrup and Rhett Parkinson officially joined the team when classes began the first day of this month.  Both are recently returned from serving church missions to Baltimore, Maryland and Salem, Oregon, respectively.  Burrup signed with BYU before his mission and Parkinson signed with BYU several years ago before enrolling at Salt Lake Community College.

COLE WILSTEAD GONE: First baseman Cole Wilstead is still a Cougar, just not for the BYU baseball team.  The former all-state football player from St. George is on the BYU football team.  His younger brother Kody is a quarterback for BYU football, but is currently serving a church mission to Argentina.

BID FAREWELL:  We bid farewell to former BYU baseball player Cal Crump who passed away this month.  Crump played for BYU in the late 1940s and early 1950s.  He stopped by our office last year to give us several articles regarding that era.

MORE MARRIED PLAYERS: Junior right-handers Keaton Cenatiempo  and Connor Williams got married to their wives last month. Other married players on BYU’s team are Hayden NielsenHayden RogersMichael Rucker and Eric Urry.  At this point, one other engaged Cougar is Tanner Chauncey, whose fiancée  is in law school at the University of Utah and they plan to get married after the season.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY THIS MONTH: Current Cougars celebrating birthdays this month are Bryan Call, Keaton Cenatiempo, Keaton Kringlen and Daniel Schneemann.

GREEN SCREEN SHOTS: BYU’s baseball players got their green screen pictures taken at the BYUtv building earlier this month. Those photos will be used for introductory lineups for the 10 games televised by BYUtv and one by the Pac-12 Network this season. In addition to having their photos taken, a couple players including Eric Urry, Tanner Chauncey  and Maverik Buffo recorded sound bites to be used in promoting shows on BYUtv. Chauncey's sound bite had an unusual twist with him growling like a Cougar and Buffo wears six ball caps atop his head in rally-cap fashion.

DR. FIFE NOW ELDER FIFE:  Among the 28 former players and coaches attending the First Pitch Dinner earlier this month was Dr. Tom Fife (BYU 1962-67), who entered the MTC a couple days afterward bound for a missionary medical assignment with his wife, Karen, in Minnesota.

ONLY SHOW IN TOWN:  While there are many shows playing all the time in Las Vegas, BYU's four-game season opener against Saint Louis University at Cashman Field in Las Vegas is the only collegiate baseball game that weekend.  The UNLV Rebels are on the road in a three-game series at the University of Texas during that time.

COUGARS RETURN TO LAS VEGAS:  BYU's baseball team won one of a four-game series at Cashman Field last year against Oklahoma after the series was moved there on short notice because of bad weather in the midwest.  BYU's men's and women's basketball teams return to Las Vegas on March 3-8.

51's SEASON OPENER:  The Las Vegas 51's, the triple A affiliate of the New York Mets, and residents of Cashman Field open their home season on April 7-10 against Fresno.

RADIO BROADCASTS:  Veteran radio broadcaster Brent Norton will call the play-by-play again this season, starting next month  when BYU plays Utah.  Joining Norton in the radio booth on more occasions than in the past is former Cougar Cameron Coughlan (BYU 2000-02) who moved from his Disneyland job in California to work for the Utah Jazz in corporate relations. Other former Cougars whom you might hear on the air this year include Jeff Bills (BYU 1972-75) and Marc Oslund (BYU 2009-13).

Samoa, fifth posting

Oct 27, 2015 - Posted by Ralph R. Zobell at 2:00 pm | Updated: October 28, 2015 2:00 pm | Permalink

Fifth report from Brent Haring, head coach for the American Samoa National Team:

Wow, I cannot believe it is Monday morning already. We begin our journey back tonight. The last two days have been days that I don't think any of us will forget. Saturday morning we went to the stadium (there is one main stadium on island for virtually every major event) where they were holding the annual Day of the Woman festival. Brian, Kim Santiago, Coach Littlewood, and myself were all invited to sit up on the stand with the Lieutenant Governors as "distinguished" you can see we have fooled everyone here. Following the program Coach Littlewood did a basketball-refereeing clinic to all the baskets referees on the island. They were so excited to pick the brain of someone that has worked multiple NCAA tournaments. While Coach was doing that I went and ran another clinic for baseball and softball players on the island. Once again the turnout was unbelievable as many kids showed up to watch and participate. 

After the clinics we were invited by the Scratch/Ho Ching family to their land (which is unbelievable as it overlooks the ocean) for a traditional umu (bbq) where we weaved our own plates from the leaves of the coconut tree. They then taught us how to make palusami a tradition meal (taro leaves with coconut milk inside). The food was all cooked in the umu underground and there was so much of it. What an awesome experience to learn about the culture firsthand. We are so grateful that the Ho Ching family would have us over to do this. Once dinner was over we sat around and visited with one another, it truly was a highlight to get to visit with them. In true Samoan fashion through talking we came to find out that Brother Ho Ching and my father in law are pretty closely related, as such it became a family gathering as well. What an awesome experience!!

Sunday morning we were able to attend church in Pava'ia'i at the English-speaking ward where we were welcomed with open arms. That evening we did a fireside for the Pago West Stake and it was the highlight of the trip. What a blessing to be here and to interact with the youth of American Samoa and the wonderful members here. This has truly been a trip to remember and I personally am grateful to Brian and Coach for the opportunity to come with them.

Samoa, fourth posting

Oct 26, 2015 - Posted by Ralph R. Zobell at 12:37 pm | Permalink

Fourth report from Brent Haring, head coach for the American Samoa National Team:

Today was a busy day. We did four school visits where we met with different groups of kids. Our group was humbled by the kids. Each group with the exception of one gave thanks by singing a traditional Samoan hymn. When the time came to sing they would each grab the hand of those sitting next to them and then harmonize the hymn acapella. Their voices are stunning and it really hits you right in the heart. Following the school visits the Parks and Recreation department as well as the American Samoa Basketball Association hosted a free basketball clinic that we were able to instruct at. It was a great turnout as kids came from all parts of the island. What a great day but as you can imagine we are dead tired as we were going from early this morning until late this evening. Until tomorrow!!!

Samoa, third posting

Oct 23, 2015 - Posted by Ralph R. Zobell at 10:45 am | Updated: October 23, 2015 7:05 pm | Permalink

Third report from Brent Haring, head coach for the American Samoa National Team:

This morning we got up and went to Pesega High School, which is owned and operated by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. We had a great reception from Principal Leauanae and his students. We were all blown away by the beautiful voices of the students as they harmonized the hymn We Thank Thee Oh God For A Prophet. It was truly amazing. We then boarded a flight back to Pago Pago American Samoa, once again we crossed the International Dateline so we returned on Thursday, so this is our second Thursday on this trip. When we returned we had a clinic that was put together by the Parks and Recreation department as well as the American Samoa Baseball Program. The boys and girls that attended were a blast to work with! What an incredible opportunity to pass along what we have to these young kids. Tomorrow we have another busy day, can't wait to see what it brings!!

Samoa, second posting

Oct 22, 2015 - Posted by Ralph R. Zobell at 10:40 am | Permalink

Second report from Brent Haring, head coach for the American Samoa National Team:

This morning we skipped Wednesday by flying to the island of Apia Samoa which is 25 hours ahead of American Samoa. We went to the Apia market and then drove around the island to our hotel. What a beautiful island. When we got to the hotel we each took some time to get into the ocean and pool. We then had a traditional Samoan meal with a fiafia show with the traditional singing and dancing along with a fire knife dance. Tomorrow we look forward to doing a devotional at Pesega Church School and a chance to visit the temple grounds. Tofa soifua!