BYU baseball player returns from mission to diamond

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Ari Davis
BYU shortstop Tanner Chauncey throws the ball to first base in a baseball game against Hartford on March 6. (Ari Davis)

BYU baseball player Tanner Chauncey returned from his mission to continue his successful career on the baseball team.

Chauncey led the team in hitting his freshman year with a .328 batting average and only eight strikeouts in 131 at bats. He impresses the crowd when he steps up to bat, according to former BYU baseball coach Vance Law. Chauncey was selected in the 35th round of the 2014 MLB draft by the Los Angeles Dodgers.

Chauncey comes from a family with talented and successful athletes. His grandfather is BYU All-American and Hall of Famer Terry Tebbs. Tebbs played basketball with the Cougars from 1953 to 1956. Chauncey’s father also played college football.

“I don’t really have a baseball gene in my family. My mom’s side of the family has a basketball gene, and my dad’s side has a football gene,” Chauncey said.

He started on his high school basketball team but realized he was better at baseball and decided to focus his time and efforts on that.

“I realized my future wasn’t with basketball; there was a better opportunity for me with baseball,” Chauncey said.

Academics and athletics went hand in hand in the Chauncey household. Chauncey had the second-highest GPA in his high school’s graduating class, and received offers from other Division I colleges but chose BYU.

“Knowing that I wanted to go on a mission, BYU was the best fit for me athletically, academically and spiritually,” Chauncey said of his decision to attend BYU.

He served a mission to Joao Pessoa, Brazil, after his freshman season in 2012.

“It was a tough decision with my successful freshman year, and pro scouts and teams were telling me don’t go on a mission,” Chauncey said. “It helped that I made that a goal in my life when I was younger, because if I hadn’t it would have been a tough decision.”

Cougar fans can expect great things from Chauncey in his returning season with BYU baseball.

“Tanner adds much-needed experience for us,” BYU baseball coach Mike Littlewood said. “We feel very fortunate to have (Chauncey).”

Since returning from his mission, Chauncey has been pushing himself through painful workouts to get back in shape for another great year on the field.

“It feels like I was never even gone now,” Chauncey said. “My body feels the best it has felt in my whole life.”

Chauncey has goals in mind. He wants to help his team win and wants to have a successful season with a great team.

“This is the best team I’ve ever played on,” Chauncey said. “I just want to help our team achieve those goals we have set for ourselves.”

Chauncey hopes to see his goal-setting and hard work pay off as the Cougars continue their 2015 season.