By: DCGrays.com Press: Blane Crouse; @bcrouse_6
Grays pitcher Bo Burrup (BYU) is not your average college baseball player, and he’s far from it. Burrup is an immensely talented, six foot five inch, hard throwing left handed pitcher who had interest from many big time colleges as well as MLB teams during his Junior year of high school, but there’s more to his story than that.
Bo’s story begins as a nine-year-old boy growing up in Pocatello, Idaho where he dreamed of being a major league ballplayer. Athleticism runs in Bo’s genes as one of his uncles was drafted by the Pittsburgh Pirates, and another played division one college football. Bo and his best friend (and cousin) Camden Christensen did everything together from baseball to just hanging out until Camden suddenly passed away at the age of 10. Bo was devastated losing his best friend at such a young age and turned to his faith (Bo is Mormon) and sports to get through this difficult time in his life. Camden’s death motivated Bo to always keep his priorities straight and make sure to remember there is more to life than baseball.
Bo was clearly a talented athlete, being named all conference as a freshman and sophomore in high school as well as being named all state his junior year. During Bo’s senior season he had a 6-1 record with a 1.11 ERA, which included a no hitter during the state tournament in which he struck out 17 of the 21 batters he faced. When Bo wasn’t pitching, he played first base and hit for an outstanding .456 average. Not surprisingly, Bo had interest from colleges such as Stanford, Oregon State, and BYU among many others. He even received letters of interest from MLB teams such as the Royals, Angels, Braves, Diamondbacks and Cubs. After receiving all that attention most high school players would spend their next year honing their skills in high school and planning to play major college baseball or even begin their professional career. Bo decided to go a different path, graduating high school early and deciding to serve a two-year, Spanish speaking mission trip in Baltimore, MD.
Bo graduated high school in November 2013 and headed to Baltimore later that month to begin his missionary work. During his mission work he did many things such as cleaning up the streets after the Baltimore Riots as well as assisting people who were old or disabled with yard work or other things that may be difficult for them. While Bo was there, he spoke mostly Spanish (Bo is fluent in Spanish) and interacted with many Spanish-speaking people. For two full years Bo served for his religion and threw only one pitch during that time period. This pitch was the first pitch at an Orioles game on August 29th, 2014. One of the missionaries serving with Bo had a connection with someone working for the Orioles and found a way for him to throw out the first pitch at Camden Yards. Bo went out and threw the pitch in honor of his cousin, Camden. Bo very much enjoyed the experience of the mission work and looking back knows putting his baseball future on hold was the right choice for him.
This past November, Bo returned from his mission trip and enrolled in BYU where he began training again after two full years off. This spring, Bo appeared in 25 games and struck out 18 batters for the Cougars. He helped BYU have a successful season as they had a record of 37-17, one of their best records in recent memory. Even though Bo was slightly older than the average college freshman, he will still have three more years to develop with BYU and his pro dreams remain quite realistic.
Bo has had an impressive start to this season for the Grays as he has a record of 2-0 and has struck out 20 batters over 11.2 innings. Bo is second in the CRCBL in strikeouts and has pitched 7.1 innings less than the only pitcher ahead of him. Bo is also tied for first in wins and is in the top 20 in ERA. Not only is Bo successful on the field, but he is having fun and enjoying his experience in DC as well. When asked about his time in DC so far Bo said “I couldn’t ask for anything better. I love my teammates and my coaches and having the opportunity to get better every single day.”
Bo is currently studying finance and business management at BYU and is an excellent student, so baseball or not his future is bright. Bo says his goal still remains to be drafted and become a professional baseball player and if he keeps pitching the way he has, he will give himself a great chance to realize that dream. Regardless of whether or not Bo plays baseball for a livelihood, he still wants to stay around baseball and would like to coach or teach young people how to play the game. While Bo is a great baseball player, he is a better person and its safe to say whatever he does upon finishing his playing career he will be successful.
Check out Bo’s first pitch at Camden Yards here
Note: Bo is pitching tonight for the Grays against the SS-Tacoma T Bolts.