Provo’s Walker Moore is one of the lucky ones.
Just before the coronavirus postponed high school sports in Utah, Moore signed on to continue his baseball career at Northwest Nazarene, a private Christian university in Nampa, Idaho. He’ll join his brother, Colton, on the roster in 2021.
But Walker Moore is also a team captain for Provo High, and when the bad news came down from the Utah High School Activities Association, he was there for his teammates.
“The day the news broke I had 15 or so texts from some of the seniors and the younger guys,” Moore said. “I love this team. I don’t think I’ve played with a group that was as close knit. We talked about how much we still needed to see each other and how sad we were that the season was over. But I was so excited to see the young guys come through. I am excited for the juniors and the younger players on the team. I’ll be checking up on them next year.”
Moore was set for a big senior year. In 2019 he hit .432 with 23 runs, 32 hits, 26 RBI, three doubles, two triples and 13 stolen bases but was even better on the mound with a 6-3 record and a 0.94 ERA. This season, Moore was 2-0 with one save and had extended his scoreless inning streak to 25, third all-time in state history. Provo opened the year 4-0 and had only allowed one run in those four games.
“Walker, until this year, was small,” said Lance Moore, his father and the Provo High baseball coach. “Last year he dominated at 120 pounds and now that he weighs nearly 160, I was really looking forward to seeing what his added strength and velocity would translate to at the high school level.
“Walker is clutch. He wants to be at the plate with the game on the line and he wants to be pitching when the season is hanging in the balance.”
Last year, the Bulldogs needed a win in a final game against Skyridge to force a play-in game. Walker Moore told his teammates to get him just one run and that would be enough.
He threw a complete-game, three-hit shutout in a 1-0 victory.
“His performance added to Walker’s legend as a fearless, clutch performer,” Lance Moore said. “He truly believes he is indomitable – at the plate, on the mound, anywhere. He believes it.”
Walker Moore has been working out in his backyard with a makeshift weight set and gets in his swings at the Real Athlete facility in Orem.
He believes the Provo program will continue to improve.
“We’ve had a really young core for the past three years,” he said. “It’s been really cool watching those guys. Now we finally have an older team. Our juniors are studs, guys like Matthew Rhineer, Cole Mason and Tyler Martinez. There were a couple of freshmen and sophomores that played and the pitching staff is good. We’re just getting deeper and deeper in the lineup.”
Walker Moore said one of his favorite team traditions comes the weekend after tryouts in March.
“We wake everyone up, go down to Magleby’s Fresh in Provo and have the all-you-can-eat French toast,” he said. “Matthew Rhineer was the reigning champion. He ate more than 20 pieces of French toast last year and no one stepped up to beat him this year. Then we usually go over to the field and hang out for a while.”
Three middle infielders who would have graduated all intend to return for Northwest Nazarene next season, so Walker Moore has discussed his expected role with the coaches.
“They wanted me to be a utility infielder and to mix in the bullpen,” he said. “Now, what they’ve talked about with me so far is logging some innings in the outfield. The team was on pace to run away with their conference this year (a 7-1 record), so I’m really excited about what can happen next year.”
He said his dream has always been to play professional baseball. Due to their age difference, he and Colton had never gotten the opportunity to play together.
That will happen next season.
“This is going to be the first chance we’ve had to play on the same team,” Walker Moore said. “You know, the longer this thing (COVID-19) goes on, the more I realize that I just don’t do a lot of things besides play baseball. It’s been really tough for me close out my high school career in such an unexpected way.”