FAIRFIELD — One video and one game basically got Tyler Stover a scholarship.
Stover, a recent graduate of Vacaville High, sent a video to Kansas State of him playing baseball. The very next day, a Wildcat recruiter was in Vacaville to watch Stover play live. After the game, Stover was a member of the Kansas State baseball team.
“They called my dad (Scott Stover) and asked for video,” Stover said in a phone interview from Manhattan, Kan., Monday. “They watched the video and flew out the next day. (The recruiter) saw me play and offered me a scholarship right after the game. I committed that night.”
Kansas State wasn’t the only option for Stover. He said it just felt like the right place to be.
“I talked to a lot of other schools, especially after I got drafted,” said Stover, who was picked by Colorado Rockies in the 40th round of this year’s MLB First-Year Player Draft. “I watched them play in the regionals vs. Wichita State. We talked about how good it would be to go to a big school like that.
“It feels great trying to find the school that’s the best fit. That shows that you are wanted. That’s what I talked about with my parents.”
Stover batted .370 his senior season for the Bulldogs, according to Maxpreps.com, with four homers, seven doubles, 30 RBIs and scored 15 runs.
Scott Stover, the head baseball coach at Solano Community College, said K-State had one scholarship left when the recruiter flew in from Kansas.
“After the draft, they still had needs,” Scott Stover said. “They had one scholarship left and were looking for a power right-handed bat. They emailed me to get his number and video of him. The recruiting guy came out to see him and offered him a shot on the spot.”
After being drafted, there was never any real talk of Stover joining the Rockies’ organization.
“It would have to had to have been a lot of money to sign,” he said. “We talked about it when I was younger. I wanted to play college baseball. That was never really under consideration. I was looking forward to going to college.”
The Wildcats baseball team, which plays in the powerful Big 12 Conference, is coming off a 45-19 season, including a 16-8 mark in the Big 12, and made it all the way to this season’s Super Regionals.
Classes at Kansas State don’t begin until next week and Stover has already been in Manhattan for two weeks to get acquainted with his new surroundings.
“It’s a world apart (from living in Vacaville),” Stover said. “I’ll wake up and think I’m in Vacaville, then I go outside and there’s a lot of farmland. It’s awesome. You get to go into the deli. There’s posters of Kansas State baseball. Everything is purple. They love their sports here. It’s a college town. There’s Kansas State logos on every street sign.”
Still, leaving the place where he grew up has had its up and downs.
“Leaving my friends and family has been a challenge,” Stover said. “I’ve matured a lot. I never thought about being halfway across the country, not being able to wake up and see my mom and my dogs. That’s been the biggest thing.”
Stover said K-State wants him to be an outfielder, though playing the corners (first and third base) could also be in his future. That’s just fine with Stover. He’s a man with a game plan.
“My big thing is I don’t want to be like a freshman,” he said. “I want to be at a high level now. I came in a few weeks early so I can get strong. I want to win a starting spot. I want to win the Big 12 Conference title and go to (College) World Series.”
Reach Brian Arnold at 427-6969 or email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter at www.twitter.com/barnolddr.