GATORADE BATH: Connor Williams engineered the orange Gatorade bath given to Coach Mike Littlewood. The orange cooler really did contain orange Gatorade dumped over Littlewood by Riley Gates and Bo Burrup as other teammates shielded the surprise to their coach following the dog pile at Stockton, California in celebration of the West Coast Conference’s automatic berth to the NCAA tournament. Littlewood shed his orange-soaked uniform at the ballpark to stay warm and his wife soon brought it to equipment manager Steve Bushman that night so he could launder it to its original cream color.
WATER BATH: On the bottom of the dog pile at the pitcher’s mound at Banner Island Ballpark were winning pitcher Bo Burrup and Colton Shaver. Two other Cougars got the brunt of the water dousing that ensued: David Clawson and Keaton Kringlen, whose uniforms were drenched.
SILENT ENTRY: Noticeable amongst all of the jubilation of the BYU team and fans following the tourney title in Stockton was the late stealthy, silent, subdued entry of pitcher Keaton Cenatiempo on the bus back to the hotel. After a few steps “Dinnertime” erupted into celebration going back to his seat.
GO PRO: Two Cougars wore Go Pro cameras at the WCC Tournament in Stockton. Brennon Anderson accepted the league’s invitation to wear the camera during batting practice the day before competition began. And Maverik Buffo was designated to wear the Go Pro from the dugout to the postgame dog pile.
MORE FANS: There were 1,442 fans reported in attendance at Banner Island Ballpark for the BYU-Gonzaga championship doubleheader. Unbeknown to many, there were 1,100 Cougar partisans seated in the South end zone at LaVell Edwards Stadium in Provo watching the championship on the big screen and several TV monitors. That group of Provo fans was attending the annual Father-Sons basketball camp.
NO HABLO: A hotel maid was impressed that several of BYU’s players (six served Spanish-speaking missions) spoke Spanish to her as they made their way to their rooms in Stockton. The maid told yours truly, who responded “no hablo.” Brennon Anderson, an RM who served a mission in Chile, shared that Spanish helped him in last year’s games at Samford when he overheard he was going to be picked off and replied in Spanish to a surprised Bulldog player.
FLAT TIRE: With half the team aboard prior to leaving the hotel for game two at the Stanford Regional, it was discovered BYU’s bus had a flat tire. With in minutes of Coach Littlewood’s announcement to have hitters leave first for batting practice, seven cars and vans were called into quick action. Driving those vehicles were pitching coach Jeremy Thomas, Darice Pratt (wife of assistant coach Trent), Tuckett Slade (director of baseball operations), Hayden Nielsen (graduate assistant), Steve Bushman (equipment manager), Steve Buffo (father of Maverik) and Travis Jacobsen (father of Casey and Mackay).
TIME LINE: With construction now in progress at Larry H. Miller Field, replacing natural grass with a heated artificial turf field, here’s the timeline of past major events for BYU playing fields:
1957—First game played at diamond on the site where current Tanner Building is now erected.
1969—Playing field changed from site of the current Tanner Building to current location.
2001—Miller Park constructed on site of current location.
2017—Natural grass replaced with artificial turf.
FORMER ATHLETES: Blake Torgerson, with several of the 2002 #GoCougs NCAA Regional team, paused to pose at Stanford NCAA Regional. Some of these former BYU baseball players drove from other parts of California, Utah and Arizona to be in attendance at this regional since they were members of the last BYU team to make a regional and have stayed in close touch over the years. Joining Torgerson (2005-2011) were Casey Cloward, Blair Lucas, Cameron Coughlan (did color for BYU radio in game 1 at Stanford), Ryan Chambers, Mike Bergeron, Ranger Wiens (did color for BYU radio at WCC tournament), Wade Vest and Tyler Dabo, Lance Beus, Paul Jacinto, Jeff Hiestand, Kevin Bills (current Stanford director of baseball operations) and Jeff’s father Kevin (did color for BYU radio in game 2 at Stanford). Other #GoCougs in attendance at the Stanford regional included: Ryan Hancock (former MLB teammate of ESPN3 analyst J.T. Snow did color for BYU radio on game 3 at Stanford), Dave Pettey (1976) and Adam Miller (2009-13, now rehabbing with Arizona Diamondbacks). Former #GoCoug quarterback Steve Young was also in attendance on Saturday for the final game at Stanford. And at Stockton, former BYU diver Mike Mooney (1983-86) drove down from Sacramento to watch his alma mater.
TWEETS: A couple of the many tweets posted after BYU won the WCC title in Stockton:
is what @ZagKennelClub tweeted on 5/27, posting a mug shot of Hayden Rogers, comparing his likeness to former Zag basketball star Kevin Pangos. Former Bulldog turned Cougar Mike Rucker (now a pro pitcher in Myrtle Beach, S.C. for the Chicago Cubs) zinged his former teammates who dog-piled in Spokane after Gonzaga swept BYU, then got swept by the Cougars in Stockton for the NCAA automatic berth:
is what @mikeruck 27 tweeted on 5/27.
@STITCH_HEAD: Eric Sorenson, a D1baseball.com correspondent, wrote the following after BYU won the WCC Tournament in Stockton: “Holy freakin’ Toledo. The Cougars went out and took a pair of games vs. Gonzaga to win the WCC auto-bid in a bludgeoning fashion, 10-3 and 16-3. If you’re not good at math that means they beat the Zags by a combined 26-6 in two successive games on Saturday. BYU lost its first game in the WCC tourney back on Thursday to LMU, but since then the Cougs scored 49 runs in five games to take the crown.”
DRIVE TIME: Tanner Chauncey, Brady Corless and Riley Gates all drove from Stockton back to Utah with their families instead of flying back with team.
SPRINTS TO PEN: Catchers Mackay Jacobsen and Noah Hill worked in the outfield bullpen at Banner Island Ballpark. Hill was seen sprinting fast between innings from the first base dugout during one of the WCC tourney games. Jacobsen’s view of the game was blocked as he warmed up BYU pitchers, but he reported hearing the ball land off the bullpen wall from Bronson Larsen’s tournament record-breaking home run in the 10-3 win over Gonzaga.
LETTER TO #GOCOUGS: On the lobby bulletin board at Miller Park is the following letter: “Dear BYU Players coachs and staff, I want to write and tell you all thank you for the AWESMOE cougar gear, letting me go to your batting practice, showing me around and letting me be in the dug-out during the game. I can’t stop talking about it!! It was Awesome, and really was the Experience. Sincerely, Your biggest fan, Easton Ott”