Hayden Leatham has plenty to be thankful for: he will officially continue his baseball career in Provo in 2019.
Leatham, a member of College of Southern Idaho’s baseball team, signed to play with the Cougars on Nov. 15 at Skip Walter Field in Twin Falls, 24 days after announcing his commitment on Oct. 21.
He’ll be the fourth player from the region to play for the Cougars since 2015, joining Kendall Motes (Idaho Falls), Bo Burrup (Pocatello) and Lincoln Clayton (Bonneville) as recent players to have donned the blue and white.
Leatham originally hails from Rexburg, Idaho.
“It’s pretty surreal,” Leatham said in a phone interview Saturday. “I think it’s the best fit for me and my family. I couldn’t be more excited.”
Other schools that recruited Leatham included Grand Canyon University (Phoenix), the University of Houston and the University of Utah.
He said the transfer “seemed to be the right fit.” BYU program has gone 97-66 since 2016. It went 22-28 during 2018.
“I really like their coaches and coaching staff,” Leatham said. “The 2019 recruiting class is very good and I think has the opportunity to be good.”
During his first season with CSI, the right-handed utility player batted .367 and hit 21 doubles, eight home runs and 80 RBIs. His batting average was a team high, and Leatham helped the Golden Eagles finish third in the NJCAA World Series.
He earned NJCAA All-American recognition this previous June as a honorable mention honoree. He’ll play one more season at Twin Falls before playing for BYU on a full-ride.
“I love CSI. I think if I could go back and do it all over again, I would,” Leatham said. “CSI has changed me as a player. It was really exciting to play in the JUCO World series. It’s kind of a adventure.
“One of my best friends from high school always wanted to play at BYU, so it’s pretty crazy to do that now and think about him,” Leatham added.
A Madison High School graduate, Leatham helped the Bobcats reach the 5A state tournament in 2017 and 2016. He earned back-to-back Post Register All-Area first team honors during those years.
“I just want to thank everyone that helped me get to where I am,” Leatham said.