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Returned Mormon missionary chasing big league dream at Oregon

Published: Friday, March 14 2014 5:00 a.m. MDT

Porter Clayton is a left-handed pitcher for the Oregon Ducks. The Idaho Falls, Idaho, native hopes to one day pitch in the Major Leagues after serving an LDS Church mission in Texas.

Oregon Athletics

A University of Oregon baseball player is working to regain his competitive form after serving a two-year mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

Porter Clayton, of Idaho Falls, Idaho, is a left-handed pitcher for the Ducks this season. The sophomore played one season at Oregon before leaving to serve in the Texas Houston East Spanish Speaking Mission. Clayton was recently featured in the Daily Emerald, Oregon's student newspaper.

Since returning last July, Clayton has worked diligently to regain his physical strength and recently earned the chance to start against No. 5 Cal State Fullerton, according to the article by Chris Mosch.

Clayton allowed three runs on four hits and five walks in 3.2 innings of work.

Clayton knows he has a long road ahead if he wants to play professional baseball, but he has found hidden reservoirs of strength in the character-building experiences he had as a missionary.

“Walking off the mound, it was awesome knowing that not only was our team successful, but knowing that it’s been a long journey and that there are many more moments to come,” Clayton said in the article. “Having the background of my mission and understanding the eternal perspective of things definitely gives me chills when things like that happen.”

As a missionary, Clayton created an "I'm A Mormon" profile page on Mormon.org. On this page he talks about the LDS faith, his mission and using our talents to bless others.

"Our talents and gifts are something that our Heavenly Father has given us. Everybody has their own special talents and gifts! One gift that our Heavenly Father has given me is the ability to play baseball. I love baseball!" Clayton wrote. "As I got older though, I noticed things such as tobacco and alcohol became 'normal' when I was around my teammates. It was really hard for me because I didn't want to lose their trust and respect by not partaking, but I noticed that because I told them 'no' and held onto my testimony, they respected me even more. Everybody can use their talents and gifts by being an example of our Savior, Jesus Christ, and doing the things that we know are right!"

Email: ttoone@deseretnews.com Twitter: tbtoone

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