UPDATED: ‘They’re living my dream’: Utah governor peps up Little League all-stars

ST. GEORGE — During a press conference with reporters on Thursday, Gov. Spencer Cox gave his well wishes to the Snow Canyon Little League all-stars and also touted his own baseball prowess, especially recently against state legislators. 

Gov. Spencer Cox during a taping of the PBS Utah “Governor’s Monthly News Conference” program, Salt Lake City, Utah, Aug. 18, 2022 | Photo via video courtesy of PBS Utah , St. George News

Update Aug. 18, 4:30 p.m. Condition of Easton Oliverson updated.

Cox made his comments to a question from St. George News during the taping in Salt Lake City of the PBS Utah Monthly Governor’s News Conference program.

“Those Santa Clara kids, Snow Canyon all-stars …. they’re living my dream,” Cox said. 

The team of Southern Utah youngsters based at Santa Clara’s Snow Canyon Little League begins play Friday as the first team ever from Utah to play in the Little League World Series in its 75-year history. 

Cox said when he was the 10 to 12-year-old age of the Snow Canyon players, he was a ballplayer himself playing as a pitcher and second base when he wasn’t pitching. 

“Baseball and basketball were my favorite sports,” the governor said. “Baseball was probably the sport I was best at.”

But like Moonlight Graham in “Field of Dreams,” a single incident deprived Cox of his baseball ambitions. And it involved his hoop dreams.

As a high school freshman just before baseball tryouts, he was playing a pickup basketball game with friends. On a play, he broke his right thumb.  After a month in a cast, it still had healing issues and to this day, he said his thumb is still “a little” crooked. 

“Because I had missed that season, I was just so far behind, it kind of threw things off. And so that was it,” Cox said. “So I became a tennis player after that, but I loved baseball. I’ve always loved baseball. I would’ve given anything to be able to play at this level.”

A picture of Mountain Region Champion Little League team member Easton Oliverson is shown on the scoreboard at Volunteer Stadium during the opening ceremony of the 2022 Little League World Series baseball tournament , Williamsport, Pa., Aug 17, 2022 | Photo by Gene J. Puskar, Associated Press

Throughout the week, Cox has also been passing his well-wishes to Snow Canyon player Easton Oliverson, who at the start of the week was severely injured in the dorms at the Williamsport, Pennsylvania, site of the Little League World Series.

Easton’s family released a statement Thursday afternoon that Easton was transferred out of an intensive care unit room at Geisinger Janet Weis Children’s Hospital in Danville, Pennsylvania. They say he is now eating and sitting on his own and walking with support. Thursday morning, the team announced an alternate is taking Easton’s place on the Utah roster: his younger brother Brogan.

Cox said he was recently able to revive his own field dreams during a softball game Tuesday night between the Utah executive office and state legislatures, pitching and playing second base.  

We beat the legislature 14-11. It’s fine. I just thought I should get that out there,” Cox said. “I wish I would’ve done that when we had more viewers.”

Television viewers on Friday can turn on ESPN at 1 p.m., to see Southern Utah’s little leaguers take on a team from the Nashville suburb of Nolensville, Tennessee, in their first game of the double-elimination tournament.

Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2022, all rights reserved.

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