Here are the top baseball players in Utah Valley in 2019:
Player of the Year: Brock Watkins, Sr. SS, Pleasant Grove
Watkins put together a magnificent senior year to cap what was a brilliant four-year career. In 2019, the BYU commit hit .573 with 39 runs, 55 hits, 41 RBI, 15 doubles, five triples and six home runs while striking out just seven times in 122 plate appearances. As a shortstop, Watkins logged a .931 fielding percentage, totaled 83 assists and turned 17 double plays. Late in the season he became Utah’s all-time leader in career hits with 158, passing Panguitch’s Cameron Leach (2003-06) with 144. Watkins finished his career with a .426 batting average.
Pitcher of the Year: Carter Smith, Sr. Skyridge
Smith repeated as the valley’s best pitcher with another great year. The BYU-bound right-hander finished 9-2 in 2019 with a 1.40 ERA and 86 strikeouts in 60 innings of work. He also found time to hit .361 with six doubles, one home run, 13 stolen bases and 21 RBI.
Offensive MVP: Blake Hofhiens, Sr. 3B, Salem Hills
The Skyhawks scored more than nine runs a game in Region 10 play and Hofhieins was often the catalyst. He hit .393, scored 23 runs and totaled 33 hits, 30 RBI, five doubles, one triple and four home runs.
Defensive MVP: Noah Taylor, Sr. OF, Pleasant Grove
Pleasant Grove’s Darrin Henry has coached some outstanding outfielders but said Taylor is about as good as he’s seen play for the Vikings. Taylor made highlight catches nearly every game and had a .966 fielding percentage to go along with a stellar offensive season that included a .357 batting average, 29 runs scored, 40 hits, 21 RBI and 13 stolen bases.
Coach of the Year: Darrin Henry, Pleasant Grove
Henry — son of area wrestling coaching legend Darold Henry — played for Pleasant Grove’s first baseball state champions in 1987 and pushed all the right buttons in leading the Vikings to another this season. Winning a loaded Region 4 was a pretty impressive feat and PG didn’t drop a game during its five-win state tournament run.
All-Valley First Team
Kyle Coburn Jr. SS, Salem Hills
Coburn hit for a high average and more often than not found his way to home plate again. He hit .378 with 31 runs scored, 37 hits, 18 RBI, nine doubles, four triples and added 11 stolen bases.
Kade Hancock, Sr. P, Salem Hills
Hancock dominated Region 10 on the mound, finishing with an 8-1 record, a 1.16 ERA and 62 strikeouts in 54.1 innings of work.
Tyson Heinz, Sr. CF, Timpanogos
Heinz was a major reason the Timberwolves defied expectations and advanced all the way to the 5A state championship game, hitting .430 with 31 runs, 46 hits, 26 RBI, six doubles, six triples and eight steals. He also committed only one fielding error in 64 chances and gave up just two earned runs in 18.1 innings on the mound.
Brayden Howard, Sr. 3B, American Fork
The Cavemen had one of the best leadoff hitters in the state in Howard, who hit .390, scored 28 runs and stole 10 bases. He also added 32 hits and knocked in 14 runs.
Hayden Jacobson Sr. OF/RHP, Lehi
Lehi handed the ball to Jacobson and he delivered with a 9-2 record, posting a 0.94 ERA and striking out 69 batters in 65 innings. He also hit .310 with 25 runs, 27 hits, 15 RBI, eight doubles and two triples.
Travis Johnson Sr. P/IF, American Fork
Johnson was one of the best two-way players in the state. He posted a 7-2 record with a minuscule 0.70 ERA and struck out 45 batters. As a hitter, Johnson managed a .390 average with 32 hits and 16 RBI.
Walker Moore Jr. IF/RHP, Provo
Moore is set for a big senior year after what he pulled off this season. 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.
Tyler Nelson So. SS/P, Maple Mountain
The Golden Eagles are in good shape for the future with Nelson returning for two more years. He hit .409 with 23 runs, 36 hits, 22 RBI, two doubles, two triples and two home runs.
Cy Nielson, Sr. RHP, Spanish Fork
The state’s Gatorade Player of the Year — who will play for BYU at the next level — put together a terrific season both on the mound and at the plate. He finished 6-1 with a 1.91 ERA and 66 strikeouts in 36.2 innings. As a hitter, he had a .400 batting average with nine doubles, one triple, two home runs and 26 RBI.
Payton Norman, Sr. DH/OF, Pleasant Grove
The free-swinging Norman was never cheated on an at-bat. He hit .449 with 35 RBI, 10 doubles and five home runs with a .730 slugging percentage.
Jaxon Peck, Sr. OF/IF, Skyridge
Peck packed a punch for a very good offense by hitting .377 with 37 hits, 32 runs, 17 RBI, seven doubles, three triples, one home run as well as 19 stolen bases.
Dawson Parry, Sr. 1B/DH, American Fork
Parry hit for average and power in 2019, finishing at .405 with 34 hits, 29 RBI, three doubles and four home runs.
Andrew Pintar, Sr. SS, Spanish Fork
Pintar was one of Spanish Fork’s top players both in the field and with the bat and has committed to play at BYU. The Region 10 MVP hit .387 with 27 runs, 36 hits, 26 RBI, seven doubles, five triples and three home runs.
Kai Roberts, Jr. C, Skyridge
The Falcons won Region 8 and Roberts gives them a good opportunity to repeat in 2020. Roberts hit .409 with 31 runs, 36 hits, 18 RBI, seven doubles, three triples, one home run and added 18 stolen bases.
Bryson Van Sickle, Sr. P, Westlake
Van Sickle held his own against the power teams in Region 4. He finished with a 5-1 record, a 1.41 ERA and 69 strikeouts in 44.2 innings.
All-Valley Second Team
Cole Blackhurst Sr. P, Pleasant Grove
Blackhurst handled his business on the mound for the state champs, finishing with a 6-1 record, a 2.43 ERA and 28 strikeouts in 46 innings.
Connor Bulkley, Sr. OF/IF, American Fork
Bulkley had great stats and played multiple positions for the Cavemen, logging a .382 batting average with 29 hits, 14 RBI, six doubles, two triples and a home run. He also was 3-1 on the mounds with a 2.95 ERA in 45 innings
Dylan Coe Sr. OF, Lehi
Coe produced consistently for the Pioneers, hitting .388 with 17 runs, 26 hits, 16 RBI, five doubles, one home run and eight stolen bases.
Kobe Freeman Sr. OF/P, Lone Peak
Freeman hit .352 with 22 RBI, six doubles and four home runs. He also pitched 41.2 innings and struck out 34 batters, highlighted by a two-hit shutout against American Fork on May 3.
Jake Fryer, Sr. OF, Pleasant Grove
Fryer was another excellent outfielder for the Vikings. He hit .370 with 37 hits, 26 RBI, eight doubles, three triples and three home runs.
Jaxon Fullmer, So. 3B, Westlake
Fullmer is quickly becoming one of the best young prospects in Utah. He hit .403 with 12 doubles, two home runs and 19 RBI for the Thunder this season.
Taylor Gill, So. SS, Orem
Gill burst onto the scene with a fantastic sophomore season, leading the Tigers with a .390 batting average and 20 runs, 32 hits, 17 RBI, seven doubles, one triple and 14 stolen bases.
Canyon Haveron Sr. 2B, Salem Hills
Haveron kept opponents busy all season long, hitting .360 with 28 runs, 36 hits, 23 RBI and eight doubles.
Ethan Hixson Sr. 2B, Timpanogos
Hixson was a tough out all season long, hitting .398 with 25 runs, 39 hits, 22 RBI, nine doubles and three triples.
Easton Keck, Sr. P, Salem Hills
Keck teamed up with Hancock for a great 1-2 tandem on the mound for the Skyhawks. He finished 8-3 with a 2.10 ERA and totaled 60 strikeouts in 53.1 innings.
Ethan Lamb Jr. 3B, Lone Peak
Lamb hammered opposing pitching all year long, hitting .372 with 29 hits, 15 RBI, two doubles, four triples and one home run.
Braxton Marath, Sr. 1B/DH, Lehi
Marath led the Pioneers in hitting, pounding out a .421 average with 24 hits, 18 RBI, three doubles and one home run.
Taye Newman .415, Spanish Fork
Newman carried a hot bat all season, hit .330 with 28 runs, 31 hits, 14 RBI, 11 doubles and three triples. He also posted a 0.95 ERA in 22 innings, striking out 37 batters.
Connor Robley, Sr. 2B, Skyridge
Robley was a big factor in the Falcons’ success in 2019, hitting .355 with 25 runs, 27 hits, 24 RBI, seven doubles, three triples, one home run and 20 stolen bases.
Carter Wilde, Sr. 3B/P, Timpanogos
Wilde came up big during his senior season, hitting .360 with 31 hits, 21 RBI, five doubles and three triples. He also fashioned a 4-4 record on the mound with a 3.87 ERA in 54.1 innings.
American Fork: Stockton Brems, Skyler Herrera, Payton Wilson; American Leadership Academy: Tommy Hudson, Chandler Hone; Lehi: Gentry Cox, Hunter Herrera, Braxton Holland, Will Miner, Quinn Taylor, McKay Wall; Lone Peak: Chipper Beck, Ryder Christensen, Troy Gambill; Maple Mountain: Wally Averett, Orlando Corona, Cooper Littledike; Mountain View: Ethan Garfield, Aaron Hair, Ryder Madsen; Orem: Isaac Bowen, Cole Brandner, Cam Decker, Travis Gill , Josh Hogge, Mac Tittle; Payson: Hank Bowers, Jordan Draper, Rykley Houser, Shawn Marvin; Pleasant Grove: Ty Barker, Jackson Hill, Kyler Lester, Ernie Lugo-Canchola, Stockton Veenker; Provo: Buddy Fuller, Ryan Harward; Salem Hills: Reed Carter, Jordan Mathews, Tristen Talbert, Cooper Wilson,; Skyridge: Bryant Ball, Dylan Bye, Mitch Sampson, Jason Simper; Spanish Fork: Morley Bennett, Josh Dart, Skiler Hohrein, Mason Nielson, Mason Olson; Springville: Nick Cloward, Aydan Marshall, Ryder Peterson, Bobby Schenck; Timpanogos: Ky Decker, Krew Erickson, Paxton Richards; Wasatch: Brock Cloward, Nick Greenhawt, Aiden Mcgoffin; Westlake: Calvin Colson, Andrew Pavia.