GRANDPA LITTLEWOOD: Add a new title to coach Mike Littlewood, who became a grandpa hours before his team left with him for the season opener in Arizona. Littlewood’s son Tyson is the proud papa of a daughter named Capri. Last month Coach Littlewood spoke at the 10-year reunion of one of his Dixie College teams and at the Utah High School Coaches Association.
LOPEZ CRIB SHEETS: In addition to scouting reports, BYU senior Bret Lopez is the recipient of a manila envelope each trip, prepared by his wife, Taryn. The tradition began when they were dating, but the Arizona trip marked the first packet Bret received from Taryn since they were married last May. Inside each envelope is a “scouting report” of the community where Bret and the Cougars are playing. For instance, on one trip last year Bret learned through the packet that the school they were playing was the oldest institution west of the Mississippi. Population and other interesting bits of trivia are enclosed to help Bret learn more of the environment.
JOINING LOPEZ: Junior Andy Isom along with Bret Lopez and teammate Hayden Nielsen, are members of the Cougar Council, representing BYU baseball among the student-athletes. Because Lopez is the co-chair of that council, baseball was allowed to add Isom as a second team representative.
HERNANDEZ REDSHIRTING: Catcher Dakota Hernandez made a decision at the end of last month to redshirt this season. The junior had off-season surgery on his labrum after rebounding from a broken thumb midseason last year. The Cougars are three-deep at catcher with junior Jarrett Jarvis the most experienced, backed by JC transfer Bo Fisher and true freshman Bronson Larsen. Also redshirting this season is pitcher Michael Rucker, a transfer from Gonzaga, due to NCAA rules.
LUND KUDOS: Freshman outfielder Brennon Lund was tapped twice by Perfect Game magazine in preseason mention. Lund was picked as the West Coast Conference Freshman of the Year and listed No. 43 in its top 100 freshmen in the country.
AFTER KANSAS TO ARKANSAS: Junior third baseman Dillon Robinson is making a return trip to Arkansas. In 2012 Robinson started in the first of two games at No. 4 Arkansas. This summer he will be returning for a 10-week internship with Walmart. As part of that preparation, Robinson read the biography of Sam Walton. Of course, it helped that Robinson had a cumulative 3.53 GPA, is majoring in finance and that a former player of BYU assistant coach Brent Haring had a key acquaintance in the Walmart hierarchy who had played for him at Harding University in Arkansas.
TEXAS TOAST: This week BYU plays at the Kleberg Bank Classic in Corpus Christi, Texas. Freshmen Mackay Jacobsen, Tyler Kendrick and Hayden Parker all live within 20 minutes of each other in Texas. Kendrick’s father Peter made the trip with his wife last week to Arizona where the former Cougar All-American played at that same Peoria Sports Complex as a minor leaguer. Peter also had a reunion with fellow battery-mate David “Boy” Eldredge, whose son was a senior catcher for Kansas.
ARIZONA FIRESIDE: BYU’s baseball players spoke and sang at a fireside for the Glendale North, Glendale and Peoria Stakes in addition to playing Kansas on its Arizona trip. Bishop Ted Heid of the Sunburst Ward conducted and helped host the Cougars on their four-day trip. Heid is the Seattle Mariners' Director of Pacific Rim Scouting.
One of shortstop Hayden Nielsen’s grandmothers played the piano while the team sang “We’ll Bring the World His Truth.” Arizonans Eric Urry and Hayden Rogers, both returned missionaries, joined senior co-captain Chris Howard and Coach Mike Littlewood as the main speakers. From an overflow chapel of youths, questions were submitted and answered by Cougars Mackay Jacobsen, Nielsen, Andy Isom, Howard and Brandon Kinser and assistant coach Brent Haring.
Urry quoted 2 Nephi 31:20 and told of looking for promised blessings. He told an analogy of riding a bike, using three principles. 1) Keep on moving forward, never slowing down or stopping. 2) Keep on pedaling, endure to the end and draw strength from it. 3) Move as straight as possible without making any sudden deviation.
Rogers told how he could hear the calm voice of his high school coach above the noise of the crowd. “How was I able to hear his voice so easily? We prepared in practice.” He told of how we need to listen to the small, distinct voice amidst so many distractions. He quoted Mosiah 2:41.
Howard talked about how he was baptized last December. His parents and girlfriend were in attendance at the fireside. He told of how he hadn’t always made good choices and had been suspended for 25 games as a junior. He talked about the importance of being an example. He quoted 1 Timothy 4:12. Later when questioned, he told of how he had committed to attend Creighton University while in high school, but they later pulled their offer.
Littlewood quoted Joshua 24:15 and told of how his wife listened with their son to a CD that had a catchy beat, but had bad words. He told of them teaching their son that subtly those words are going into his subconscious. He referred to seeing the light in the distance of the Manti Temple while driving in a dark night.
Haring answered a question about finding time to balance team and family amidst stress and told of the wives that supported the coaches and staff. Jacobsen answered a question about scripture study. Nielsen answered a question about qualities needed to be a co-captain. Isom answered a question about having a balance between school and baseball and the importance of having a plan. Kinser answered a question about the importance of serving a mission, to not look at it being a stumbling block, rather as a stepping stone.