A new year often brings forecasts, prospecting and resolutions. As the calendar turns from one year to the next, a blank canvas awaits with 365 opportunities to control one’s destiny. The thought of an open road, no tied down history, and the autonomy to determine a new year’s outcome are sentiments that tend to resonate deeply in people.
But for all the grandeur that comes with dreams and visions of looking ahead, there tends to be one desire that rises above wanting to start anew. It’s the desire to be where you’re wanted.
For BPA 2023 outfielder Walker Sanders, he enters 2022 with his college decision made. Committing to BYU last fall, Sanders joins several former BPA players in determining Porvo, Utah as the location of the right next level fit. BPA 2023 teammate Matt Fox is also a BYU commit. But more than having current teammates and past program peers be his future teammates, it was the feeling of being wanted that determined the uber athletic Mississippi native’s future.
Now, with no doubt come fall of 2023 he will be at a place he is wanted, he can attack 2022 with no reservations of his goals, a year he vows to make special as his last with BPA. Here’s his commitment spotlight.
In five words, describe what it feels like to say Walker Sanders, BYU-commit.
Proud, Excited, Grateful, and Motivated
Now, in more than five words, describe the moment or thoughts behind determining BYU was the right fit for you.
Talking to the coaches and after visiting the campus and seeing the facilities, my family and I felt extremely comfortable and wanted. I wanted to play where I felt like I was wanted. I feel like this program is a great fit for me and my skillset.
Do you recall the first time the Cougar staff let you know of their interest in you joining their program?
The start of the summer after my sophomore season, Coach Trent Pratt was attending our mini camp and expressed interest through our coaching staff. We spoke on the phone after the camp was finished and relationship was off and running.
What sold you on continuing your athletic career as a part of their program?
Getting a college degree from a high-level university has always been very important to me and my family. Getting an opportunity to play at a school like BYU was a dream come true. Their facilities are unbelievable and hearing that they will be joining the Big XII Conference in 2023 was a major selling point.
When you look at how many BPA players have gone to BYU, currently go there, or are committed to, what do you think that says about their university and program?
They prefer high level players that have been coached hard and by some of the best coaches in the country. It shows that BYU looks for hard working players that play the game the right way.
Can you point to a specific moment or aspect of being a part of BPA that helped you reach your goal of playing at the next level?
Traveling in the summers on college trips and having to compete against older and more mature players showed me how I need to compete day in and day out if I wanted to play at the next level. The coaches demand the younger guys to compete and approach the game the same way as the older players.
Is there a particular game, tournament or trip that sticks out to you from your time wearing the Black and Gold?
My greatest memory is the 2020 WWBA in Atlanta quarter final game when we were low on pitching and had to scrap and find a way to beat one of the best teams in the country. We went on to play in the Finals that year but we came up short.
You’re part of a growing BPA Mississippi legacy. What has being coached under Coach Russell Pratt meant to you?
Being coached by Coach Pratt since I was seven years old is irreplaceable. He teaches us that if you want to play at the next level, you have to work. He teaches us that talent only gets us so far. You have to put the time in to be your best.
As we start a new year, what goals have you set for the 2022 summer, your last with BPA?
I look forward to having one of the best summers ever making memories with some of my best friends. My goal is to help lead us to a WWBA championship this year. Also, I am looking forward to being able to play as a more physical player this year.
If you had 15 seconds to sell an incoming freshman on joining BPA, what are you telling them?
If you truly want to play college baseball, BPA will help prepare you and make you the best player you can be. They will make sure you have an opportunity to play at the next level.