Growing up all I wanted to do was play baseball. I started when I was three years old and never looked back. If you were to ask me what I wanted to do when I grew up, without hesitation I would say that I wanted to be a professional baseball player. Unfortunately, that did not end up happening, but I wouldn’t trade the journey I went on and the countless memories I have from playing baseball for anything.

I graduated from West Jordan High School in 2014. I had some interest from schools back east, but I was wanting to stay a little closer to home. I ended up attending Taft College in Taft, California on an academic scholarship. After the fall semester, I came home from California intending to be done playing baseball. I thought that it was time to hang up the cleats and move on in life. It was too late to register for classes, so I got a job at a bakery. Working at the bakery was a fun and easy-going job, but I knew it was not what I was supposed to be doing.

I had always wanted to play for UVU. It’s a division one school, close to home with a successful track record and a bright future ahead. My dad, Todd Asay, played for the school back in the 80’s when it was still Utah Valley Community College. He is actually the only pitcher in school history to throw a perfect game and he held a few other records during his time on the field.

With high hopes of walking on at UVU, I began training again and got back in the swing of things on the field. I worked out the whole summer and tried out for the team in September of 2015. After a tryout with roughly 25 other players, myself and one other player were lucky enough to get on the roster.

We had a very good team that year, with a lot of seniors and returning starters who were set to make an impact that season. The team welcomed me with open arms and we worked towards our common goal of winning the WAC tournament and making it to a regional.

I did not get much playing time because the freshman walk-on. I started in one game against the University of Arizona and played in a few innings here and there throughout the season. However, that did not bother me whatsoever, and I embraced my role as the bullpen catcher. I got to go on every road trip and be at every game. It can be tough being the bullpen catcher at times, but I felt my work never went unrecognized. The pitching staff was always great to me and made sure to always let me know they appreciated my hard work.

We ended up going 18-9 in WAC play and entered the WAC tournament as the No.3 seed. Going 4-0, we were able to win the WAC tournament and get into the first regional in school history. We drew out in the Baton Rouge Regional and got the opportunity to play LSU in the first round. After losing to LSU and Southeastern Louisiana, we were knocked out of the regional. A tough loss, but a season that I will always remember as the most memorable in my life.

Going into my sophomore season, I had worked hard to earn the starting catching job and help the team get back to regionals. With most of the fall season in the books, I had a good start and things were looking up for me. However, toward the middle of January I started having problems with my knee and it bothered me when I would catch.  An MRI revealed I had torn my meniscus and would need surgery. I had surgery the week of the first game and ended up missing the season while rehabilitating and strengthening my knee. It was a tough season to go through, but one that made me mentally stronger as a person and as a player.

After my sophomore season I decided it was time for my baseball career to be over. I had accomplished so much as a baseball player and I am very proud of it. My time as a UVU athlete is something that I will never forget and I will cherish the memories forever. Coach Madsen gave me a chance when I came to the walk-on tryouts, and I couldn’t be more grateful for that.

Keaton Asay, Senior Staff Writer