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BVU’s Tennyson to weigh options for next spring

WHAT’S NEXT? — Buena Vista University hitter Tyler Tennyson prepares to connect on a delivery during collegiate baseball action last spring. The Beavers’ senior slugger will have to make a decision on whether or not to return to the diamond next spring after the NCAA cancelled the rest of this season due to the COVID-19 pandemic. (Photo courtesy of Buena Vista University)

TRUMAN — “It just doesn’t feel real.” That’s how Buena Vista University senior Tyler Tennyson described the possibility of having played his final college baseball game.

“It kind of feels like I’m just at home, taking a break and I’ll be back with everybody in a week or so. I’m trying to picture like, doing online classes a month from now on, I just, that doesn’t even seem real to me.”

Tennyson, a senior for the Beavers and a former Fairmont High School standout, was getting ready for a weekend tournament at the Tucson Invitational on March 12, when he received a bad sign of what was coming.

The Beavers’ scheduled game against Wabash College on March 12 was cancelled due to rain, a rarity in the Arizona spring. The rain continued through the night, making the field unplayable and cancelling Tennyson’s scheduled doubleheader on March 13. Only two days after the NBA postponed its season on March 11, Tennyson said he received an email telling him the Beavers’ remaining schedule for 2020 was cancelled.

“That Thursday afternoon, we found out that our conference had cancelled all the conference tournaments for winter and spring sports,” Tennyson said. “So, that still meant our season was on so we were going to play later that night, but then it actually got rained out down there. Which is, which is pretty wild, because that’s never happened to our coach and he’s been going there for 20 years.

“We didn’t play that game and then we got arranged to play a doubleheader on Friday. … So, when I woke up that morning, OK, the games are cancelled. So then that was kind of an indication that we probably weren’t going to play again.

“Within like, 30 minutes, after I woke up, it was all cancelled. Our season was cancelled. And it was, it was pretty brutal. We just kind of sat there, I just kind of sat there in disbelief in my hotel room and then we kind of had a little senior day ceremony. It was sad, but it was needed, you know, to get everybody together and comfort each other because, you know, we had really high hopes for the season and we were doing really well. Just kind of out of nowhere, we just ended it.”

Those high hopes had shown through early in the year with Buena Vista starting the season 5-2, and with Tennyson batting .414 in seven games. He already had knocked three home runs and three doubles, while adding 6 2/3 innings pitched and striking out six, allowing three runs.

With the season cancelled and Buena Vista classes set to start online on March 30, Tennyson came home and has had a week of spring break — the first in a long time, he said.

“I haven’t been home very long,” Tennyson said. “So it’s basically been just kind of a weekend break, which I haven’t really had since the fall. But now, they (Buena Vista) extended spring break from one week to two weeks so I have this whole week off for spring break and then my classes don’t actually start until the 30th.”

Buena Vista’s academic prowess will be tested in the coming months, going from only offering a couple of computer-specific classes online to its full course list.

“The only online classes that Buena Vista even really offers is Excel classes,” Tennyson said. “And you don’t need a professor to sit in and teach you that on Zoom or anything. You just buy the book and then do the exercises in the book.”

The NCAA has begun discussions to determine whether seniors or all spring athletes will receive an extra year of athletic eligibility to compensate for losing their seasons to COVID-19, but Tennyson said if it does, he will still have a tough decision to make.

“My coach emailed me and the team, like a couple of days after everything went down and said basically everybody in spring sports is going to retain their eligibility for athletics,” Tennyson said. “… That’ll happen for everybody so seniors can get that fifth year and juniors, sophomores and freshmen will still get to be listed the same. But you know, that will be tough because some, some already got their jobs and some probably won’t be able to afford it. That’s something I really have to sit down with, you know, with my advisors, my parents and my coach and all that to figure out if it’s even worth coming back financially.”

If Tennyson’s career is over with the Beavers, he’ll have two full seasons as a starter to look back upon.

As a junior in 2019, Tennyson pitched 60 2/3 innings, allowing 65 hits and 18 earned runs for a 2.67 ERA. On offense, Tennyson totaled 30 hits in 110 at-bats for a .273 batting average, while hitting one home run, 12 doubles and generating 20 RBIs.

As a sophomore, he collected 29 hits in 96 at-bats, for a .302 average in 25 games. He also added three doubles and 15 RBIs.

Tennyson said he is holding out hope things will clear up soon and he will get to play amateur baseball this summer with his long-time teammates on the Fairmont Martins.

He said he is also holding onto the big step of earning his degree in accounting to help push him through trying times.

“Hopefully, summer ball and playing for Fairmont,” Tennyson said of what is keeping his spirits up. “That’s kind of something I really look forward to. I really love playing with all those guys and most of them are still around here, so maybe that’s kind of one thing I’m looking forward to. And you know, getting a degree even though it’s online, that’s a huge step in anybody’s life.”

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