Baseball season starts next month

Jan 18, 2013 - Posted by Ralph R. Zobell on January 18, 2013 at 12:22 pm | Updated: January 22, 2013 9:20 am

A year ago four members of BYU’s current baseball team were serving missions for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.  They are Jacob Hannemann (Arkansas), Andy Isom (Brazil), Cody Shepherd (Brazil) and Derek Speigner  (Salt Lake City).

This year among the several BYU baseball players currently serving missions are Tanner Chauncey, Kolton Mahoney and Mason Marshall.  Recently contact was made with their parents, but before giving further details about their missions, return to the aforementioned Hannemann and Speigner.

DOUBLE DOUBLE: Hannemann, who was selected in the 48th round of the 2010 Major League draft by the Kansas City Royals, is penciled in as one of BYU’s starting outfielders this season.  Last month, Hannemann was with BYU’s football team in San Diego for the Poinsettia Bowl where he was a defensive back with his brother Micah, also a Cougar DB. Jacob is now with BYU’s baseball team, but Micah is now preparing to serve a mission to Carlsbad, Calif., and will be wearing one of Jacob’s missionary suits.

RELAY FROM OUTFIELD: Outfielder Hannemann was one of four players from the baseball team to swim a promotional 50 freestyle relay at the BYU-Denver dual in the Richards Building Pool on Jan. 19 along with pitcher Matt Milke, first baseman Brock Whitney and third baseman Adam Law.  Milke was on his high school water polo team in California. Hannemann was a late sub for pitcher Mark Anderson, who had to leave when the event was delayed. Whitney teamed with Law, who was out-touched by Tom Holmoe, BYU Director of Athletics in a time of 28.21, compared to baseball's 28.96. Holmoe's teammate was Associate Director of Athletics Brian Santiago.

HONEYMOON OVER: Two BYU catchers got married on the same day last month, so their honeymoons are now over as Cougar baseball practices gear up.  Sophomore Jarrett Jarvis married Jenna Lewis and junior Dillon Robinson married Ashley Brawley Robinson, who plays third base for BYU softball. Speigner, who beat BYU before his mission as a reliever at UC Riverside, got engaged last month and is scheduled to become BYU’s 11th married player this April.  

OUTDOOR PRACTICES: Among these upcoming baseball practices are outdoor breaks from the BYU indoor practice facility. On Jan. 25-26, Feb. 1-2 and Feb. 8-9, the Cougars will have outdoor baseball practices at St. George at 5 p.m. and 10:30 a.m. All practices in St. George will be at Bruce Hurst Stadium at Dixie State University except for the morning practice on Feb. 2, which will be at nearby Dixie High School because of a conflict.

MISSIONARY UPDATE: The parents of Chauncey, Mahoney and Marshall, give us a glimpse into their son’s missions based upon Christmas phone calls or Skype sessions. A common theme is these players took two baseball mitts in their luggage so they could play catch on P-days  (preparation day) with a companion.

Elder Tanner Chauncey, Brazil Joao Pessoa Mission:  It was a 40-minute Skype session from a Bishop’s home and Tanner demonstrated he could speak Portuguese to his family. The session was precisely 40 minutes because he did not want to lose his e-mail privileges for a month.

Chauncey’s mission president played baseball with him on Christmas Day and provided the bat and balls. Chauncey reported he is eating well and gets up early to do pushups, sit-ups and use the set of bands he took to Brazil. He did get to spend some time in the MTC last summer with Mason Marshall during Chauncey’s three-week wait in Provo awaiting a visa.

His request: “send me letters.”

Elder Kolton Mahoney, California Santa Rosa Mission: Has served in Santa Rosa, Crescent City, Eureka, Vacaville and most recently Kelseyville, California.

Once while walking with his missionary companion down a path, Mahoney spotted a baseball bat stuck in the mud of a creek.  He crawled down the bank to retrieve the bat so that he could use it to hit balls on P-days. He appreciated throwing a baseball back and forth with a local Bishop who used to be a catcher in the pros.

He reported on baptismal successes and of a recent calling to serve as assistant to the mission president.

His request: “send T-shirts, no more candy bars.”

Elder Mason Marshall, Philippines Cauayan Mission:  This Skype session came at 5 p.m., on Christmas Day to Utah, but it was the day after Christmas in The Philippines.  Randomly, native children would wave in the background of the computer screen.  The 5-foot-9 and one-half-inch tall Marshall was delighted to tell his family that he gets to play the center position in basketball games with the locals, who “foul a lot.”

Marshall does a lot of walking and gets to throw the football around on P-days when he is the quarterback because of his strong arm. He appreciates catching baseballs with Elder Devin Needs, a BYU lacrosse player, who lives in the missionary four-some with Marshall.

Marshall is serving in farmland villages and has gained some weight as he enjoys eating local fruits. He uses a bucket to wash his clothes or shower. From an Internet Café, he sends his e-mail, which arrives at 2 o-clock on Sunday mornings to his family in Utah.

His request: “send sunflower seeds.”