Prep baseball: 5A rivals Brennon Lund and Tanner Draper relish chance to play in college
Ogden • One hopped the dugout railing, while the other leapt the small concrete stairs to get to the infield clay at Lindquist Field. It was, at long last, the official last day of high school baseball, so Brennon Lund and Tanner Draper were chatting up a storm in the south end dugout at Lindquist Field Saturday afternoon.
When they hurried out of the dugout to listen to the pregame speech prior to the Class 5A senior All-Star Game in Ogden, Draper made sure his Region 4 rival and club teammate saw his glove. The Riverton right-hander and Oregon State commit wanted Lund, a center fielder at Bingham and Brigham Young commit, couldn't wait to play and the speedster in Miner blue saw it and tapped Draper's glove.
"Grew up playing with each other," Lund said, "grew up playing against each other."
Both Draper and Lund are considered premiere baseball talents in this year's Class of 2013 and both, coincidentally, had to keep one eye on an All-Star game and another on the 2013 Major League Baseball Draft. Draper, a 6-foot-3, 170-pounder, wasn't as excited as he wanted to be going into this weekend.
Despite his 7-0 record with the Silverwolves this year, Draper said he didn't have the senior year he envisioned. He picked up a bout with mono midway through the season that slowed his previous high expectations.
He said he talked to every team in the big leagues leading up to the draft, but never saw anything concrete.
And that's fine with him.
"If the draft came and I got drafted, then that's a bonus," he said.
Instead he thought back to the list of pros-and-cons he made when choosing which university he'd attend. Oregon State stood out. The Beavers are a powerhouse program, winning back-to-back College World Series titles in 2006 and 2007.
"They made it really easy for me," he said.
When the 40th round of the draft came and went, Draper's name wasn't called.
Brennon Lund's name either.
But Lund, the sparkplug on this year's Class 5A champion Miners team, said he couldn't be more pleased with his potential route to the majors. Of the eight players with Utah ties drafted this year, half of them came from BYU.
Lund looked at Saturday's opportunity to slip on the Bingham blue one last time as a nice respite from the refreshing Internet pages and whisperings online.
"It's just fun," he said. "It's a good experience, and I don't want to let it get to me. Just coming out here and playing a ball game."
That's what he did. In the stands at Lindquist Field, Bingham coach Joey Sato was refreshing his draft tracker every chance he could. It was a moment in which Sato, a storied coach who has sent a number of players to major league organizations, could revel in.
He's seen Lund grow to his potential, saying he's never seen bat-to-ball contact as perfect in all his years coaching the Miners. He's seen Draper throw off a vaunted lineup with his ability to adjust. Earlier this year when Bingham started to spot Draper's fastball, he went off-speed and Sato's bunch struggled.
When Sato was informed of the rivals' thrill to be a student-athletes in college at two flourishing programs, he smiled.
"To have that kind of life where they get to compete at that level is special," he said. "Maybe they'll make it to Omaha."
When the pregame huddle broke to shag flyballs, Lund sprinted to center, while Draper went to right, two rivals and friends playing on the same team with a lot of green grass in front of them.