Ty Bianucci is a life-long fan of the San Francisco Giants, 49ers and Golden State Warriors who started on the sports beat for The Review, but now contributes investigative stories. He, along with two of his colleagues, were awarded the Sunshine Award in 2018 by the Society of Professional Journalists.
Photo by Brigham Berthold
The best hitter on the UVU baseball team this season was Trevor Peterson. Then again, he was the best in several departments on this year’s squad. He had the most at-bats, hits, runs scored and started every single game the Wolverines played this year. What drives Peterson’s will for success is his desire to someday play in the Major Leagues.
“That’s why I’m grinding out here doing my best to catch a scout’s eye or do whatever it takes,” Peterson said.
A transfer from Salt Lake Community College, where he played two seasons for the Bruins, Peterson is already familiar with the task of getting noticed. During the MLB draft last June, he spoke to a scout for the Washington Nationals just before the 11th round, but ultimately the team did not select him. Peterson chalks up the snub to having a season just below the standards scouts were looking for. Another member of the SLCC baseball team was selected in the 11th round by the Texas Rangers with pick No. 339. Joe Barlow, Peterson’s best friend since first grade, was drafted as a pitcher just four months after the converted catcher changed positions.
When Barlow signed with the Rangers and Peterson transferred to UVU, it marked the first time since Barlow did not make the cut on a Utah travel team before high school that the two did not play on the same team. After 12 seasons together, they had to go their separate ways in pursuit of the same goal.
“It was so cool,” said Peterson. “It was a dream come true for him. I know it’s what he’s wanted since he was 8. It’s what we’ve always talked about.”
2017 was also Peterson’s first season playing first base in his career. He grew up playing middle infield positions and was a shortstop in high school. The learning curve apparently was not too steep as he produced a .987 fielding percentage on the season, tied for best on the team for those that played 30-plus games.
The Wolverines’ down year included a historically brutal stretch in late April and early May when BYU and Utah tied the record at Brent Brown Ballpark for most runs scored by an opponent at 23 and New Mexico State broke the record with a 24-1 rout of UVU. Peterson believes he has matured through the adversity and learned something valuable as a member of a losing team for the first time in his life. Peterson’s biggest slump of the season came in early April when in eight games he was only able to knock one hit a game with a couple of hitless games mixed in. Although, in 52 games played he was held hitless just 10 times.
“I’ve had rough performances,” Peterson said. “It’s been a learning experience. I’ve always been on teams that have won a lot of games so it’s been tough… but it’s been a learning experience to have confidence in my guys even though we are struggling.”
As for playing without his best friend and teammate for the first time in over a decade, “I definitely do miss him a lot,” he said. Peterson doesn’t only miss Barlow’s leadership and example on the field, but playing Call of Duty Zombies together off the field. Peterson hopes to continue his success next season during his senior year and to be drafted where he can join Barlow in the professional ranks. Until then, he’s going to continue to “see a fastball early and put a barrel on it,” for the Wolverines.