Coronado baseball players turn down four-year offers to continue developing at junior colleges

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Photo - Coronado baseball player Alex Bumpus looks up to his friends and family after signing a ceremonial letter of intent to play baseball at Salt Lake Community College. He and five other athletes from Coronado High School signed ceremonial letters of intent to play their sport in college on Wednesday, April 12, 2017. Photo by Jerilee Bennett, The Gazette
Coronado baseball player Alex Bumpus looks up to his friends and family after signing a ceremonial letter of intent to play baseball at Salt Lake Community College. He and five other athletes from Coronado High School signed ceremonial letters of intent to play their sport in college on Wednesday, April 12, 2017. Photo by Jerilee Bennett, The Gazette

Coronado sluggers Tanner Mayberry and Alex Bumpus didn't get much time to soak it in after signing their national letters of intent on Wednesday afternoon.

It was just about game time.

"Emotions kind of kick in now that we're thinking about the next level," Mayberry said. "But we have a game today, that's our main focus right now."

Before they took the field, Mayberry and Bumpus both chose to continue their baseball careers at the junior college level. Mayberry signed with Ventura Community College (Ventura, Calif.) and Bumpus inked with Salt Lake Community College (Utah) inside Coronado's gymnasium in front of family and friends.

Both players had interest from four-year colleges but chose the JUCO path to develop their skills further.

"I think going JUCO, it gives you a lot more opportunities," Bumpus said. "I may not be as good now, but if I get two more years to develop at a higher level it opens up a lot more doors later on for Division II, Division I options."

They didn't have to look far to see the benefits.

Coronado coach Trevor Stewart played two years at Garden City Community College (Kan.) in the early 2000s before he signed on with the University of Iowa. He redshirted with the Hawkeyes before he finished his college career at Colorado Mesa (then called Mesa State College).

"For those two guys, they're still improving so it gives them more colleges or more opportunities to go play with a four-year school than they do now," he said. "You just want to keep playing as long as you can, as long as that door is open."

Coronado baseball player Tanner Mayberry will be playing JUCO baseball at Ventura College. He and five other athletes from Coronado High School signed ceremonial letters of intent to play their sport in college on Wednesday, April 12, 2017. Photo by Jerilee Bennett, The Gazette 

Mayberry, who also had an offer to play hockey at the next level, was recruited as a corner infielder for Ventura. He also had interest from D-II programs at Washburn University (Topeka, Kan.) and the University of Nebraska at Kearney.

Bumpus will be in the outfield at Salt Lake after he turned down four-year opportunities at D-III Illinois Institute of Technology and D-II St. Martin's University (Lacey, Wash.)

Finding success in the JUCO route isn't unfamiliar in the area, nor is it exclusive to baseball.

Recently, former Pine Creek quarterback Tommy Lazzaro went from Dodge City Community College (Kan.) to Central Michigan.

"Now these guys going through it, I'm excited for it," Stewart said. "There's so much opportunity, man. Everybody wants to go big time, this or that. Who knows, if they go out and tear it up they might go play for Arizona or Cal-State Fullerton.

"When you're good and you're still developing like they are, who knows where they'll end up."

Bumpus has over a 4.0 GPA. Mayberry has over a 3.9.