BYU baseball: Mike Littlewood says Trent Pratt greater than prepared to educate

In a matter of hours, Trent Pratt went from a longtime assistant and third base coach to the person in command of BYU baseball. Even on an interim foundation, Pratt has extra management of a group than he has ever had — and his former boss believes he’s prepared.

“Trent is one of the most knowledgeable baseball guys I’ve ever been around,” mentionedformer BYU baseball head coach Mike Littlewood. “He understands the game at a level deeper than most ‘baseball’ people.”

Littlewood resigned final week citing private causes. While he hasn’t supplied a lot about his abrupt departure 29 video games into his tenth season in Provo, he has rather a lot to say about his alternative.

“Trent is a grinder in every aspect of college baseball,” Littlewood mentioned. “He’s a tireless recruiter and spends hours and hours of individual time with hitters and catchers. He is one of the best people I know.”

Littlewood, Pratt and assistant coach Brent Haring gained 262 video games collectively at BYU, together with WCC championships in 2016, 2017 and 2019, with Littlewood incomes WCC Coach of the Year in 2019. Pratt was additionally at Littlewood’s facet for six seasons at Dixie State, the place they gained 181 video games collectively.

“There were a handful of series at Dixie that I missed because I was working March Madness (as a basketball official) and Trent took over during those times,” Littlewood mentioned. “He has the experience at the college level of being a head coach on the field.”

During his surprising debut final week at Nebraska, Pratt guided the Cougars (20-13) to wins in three of 4 video games, with each determined by a single run. BYU is 10-3 towards Power Five applications, together with a 10-3 win at Utah (20-14-1) on March 15. Pratt will get his first style of the rivalry sport Tuesday night time when the Cougars and Utes meet at 6 p.m. MDT at Smith’s Ballpark.

“I have known Trent since he was in the eighth grade and I was coaching at the Mountain West Baseball Academy,” Littlewood mentioned. “He was playing shortstop, but coach Steve Cramblitt and I saw qualities that would make Trent an incredible catcher.”

Pratt switched positions and his sport took off. He performed two years at Auburn and two years at Arizona State earlier than being drafted within the twelfth spherical of the 2002 MLB draft by Philadelphia.

“As soon as Trent was done playing and expressed an interest in coaching, I brought him on at Dixie immediately,” Littlewood mentioned. “Until you sit at the seat as the head coach, you really can’t understand all that is involved. But Trent is a very intelligent guy and will figure things out quickly.”

In addition to his new interim head teaching duties and training third base, Pratt retains a detailed eye on his favourite place — and the 2 freshmen who’re creating behind the plate.

Collie Reuter, from Olive Branch, Mississippi, has 26 begins. Mason Strong, from Santa Clara, Utah, has six. They are each the current and the longer term for BYU baseball because the Cougars end up competitors within the WCC subsequent yr earlier than becoming a member of the Big 12 on July 1, 2023.

“Trent is one of the best catching instructors in the country,” Littlewood mentioned. “And he has a unique way of taking a hitters’ individual strengths and building upon them. He has an eye for identifying weaknesses and works with them at a personal level to get the most out of each hitter.”

Ozzie Pratt matches that mould. The freshman second baseman from Oxford, Mississippi, leads the group in hitting with a .329 batting common.

In addition to dropping Littlewood, BYU is with out Andrew Pintar, who was misplaced for the season (shoulder) and gained’t have dwelling run hitter Cole Gambill (foot) again in proper area for a number of extra weeks. Both Pintar and Gambill had been named to the All-WCC Preseason Baseball Team.

The high six groups within the WCC qualify for the convention event in late May with the winner receiving an computerized berth into the NCAA Tournament.

BYU is 6-6 in league play and three video games behind second place San Diego (9-6) and LMU (9-6). The Toreros play a three-game collection in Provo beginning Thursday. The Lions play at BYU May 19-21 throughout the remaining week of the common season.

Pratt’s help workers stays intact with Haring, a 14-year assistant for Littlewood, pitching coach Michael Bradshaw, director of baseball operations Tuckett Slade and pupil assistant coach Noah Hill all nonetheless within the combat.

“I really felt like I had the best staff in America. Bar none,” mentioned Littlewood.

Despite the teaching change and the accidents, the Cougars nonetheless have rather a lot to play for, and for Pratt as interim head coach, he could also be taking part in for an entire lot extra as BYU seems to be to the longer term. This is a second he has been getting ready for, each on and off the sphere.

“All of our former players know him and they have been so good to us. They are the main reason why the facilities are what they are and why the product on the field is what it is,” Littlewood mentioned. “The program simply cannot survive without the support of the donors and former players, and I know Trent understands that.”


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