Baseball and Softball All-State honors

Nine baseball and softball players from San Juan and Monticello high schools earned All-State honors for the 2023 spring season.
The Deseret News released its annual lists of All-State athletes based on coaches’ votes from a list of nominated players from each team.
The San Juan Record is proud to present the honorees along with photos and comments from their coaches.

Avina Cordova
2A Softball First Team
San Juan Senior second base
.384 BA / .555 OBP / 33 hits / 20 RBI 46 runs / 14 xbh / 17 stolen bases
Head Coach Mike Bowers: “Avina was by far our most improved player. Last year she committed two to three errors a game at second base and was an average hitter. This year I wasn’t certain she would be able to start at second for us. She worked hard in the offseason to improve her craft defensively and offensively.
“In practice she gave everything she had daily which helped her earn the tentative starting position. I think her maturity and understanding of the game clicked and she never looked back. She was a crucial part of our offensive attack, bouncing between lead-off and second in the lineup. She tripled her doubles from last year and rarely went a game without a hit. Most importantly, she was clutch with two strikes against her. “Defensively she was stellar and was an on-the-field leader. She didn’t necessarily lead vocally but her calm demeanor was huge for our team. Her fielding average was over .980 and she made crucial plays especially at state. She led our team and modeled the expectations we had for calm and forward-thinking players.”

Jerzy Nieves
2A Baseball First Team
San Juan Senior Pitcher/outfielder
.385 BA / .458 OBP / 45 hits / 50 RBI 21 xbh / 7-2 record / 2.21 ERA / 39 k
Head Coach Jens Nielson: “Jerzy made great adjustments this year to his game.  He was positive, coachable, and determined to be successful. Jerzy was not a vocal leader. Rather, he showed by example. He has a winning mentality that is contagious. He is best when he is loose and he did a great job of playing loose all season.
“His numbers were great. He was one of the toughest outs in 2A and his offensive game was outstanding this season. He had multiple streaks putting up huge RBI numbers that led us to our successful season. He may not have gotten the title, but as far as numbers go, Jerzy was no question the MVP of the playoffs. He deserves this recognition of First-Team All-State. We will miss you Jerzy Nieves (knee-ev-es).”

Trinity Whatcott
2A Softball First Team
San Juan Junior Pitcher / Infielder
.500 BA / .586 OBP / 48 hits / 32 RBI /15 xbh / 166 strikeouts / perfect gm
Head Coach Mike Bowers: “Trinity is beast! She pitched and hit like no other. She had multiple hits in nearly every game we played. She hit with power and was a force at the plate. At the beginning of the year she struggled a bit pitching, mostly because she put so much pressure on herself. Once she relaxed and started pitching rather than throwing she was tough to face as a pitcher. She developed a rise ball that was great at the end of the year. She locates and throws with conviction every pitch. Next year she is going to be better than ever for these reasons.”

Collin Baker
2A Baseball Second Team
San Juan Senior Pitcher / Infielder
.343 Ba / 41 hits / 38 RBI / 14 xbh /11 stolen bases / .909 Fielding %
Head Coach Jens Nielson: “Collin doesn’t settle for mediocrity. He works hard to be one of the best.  He understands that to be good as an individual it takes hard work, a positive attitude, and self-recognition of what needs to be worked on to get better.
“He is a great teammate who led vocally as well as by example. Collin is a gamer who will compete to the very end. His play offensively, defensively, and as a teammate led to the great run we had. Recognition for him is well-earned. Thanks Collin. You will be missed.”

Cooper Palmer
2A Baseball Second Team
San Juan Sophomore First Baseman
.390 BAtting avg / .485 obp / 44 hits
43 Rbi, 17 extra-base hits
Head Coach Jens Nielson: “Coop was outstanding, reliable, and huge for us this season. Coop is a baseball player and wants team success. He shows this in his efforts at practice and on the field. There were a few times Coop wasn’t playing his best and instead of pouting, getting angry, or quitting he decided to be coachable and work on the things he was struggling with.
“He made great adjustments that made him the great player that he is. He was an offensive powerhouse and put up big numbers. He had an outstanding offensive run in the playoffs that pushed us to success. We are excited to have him back for two more years and know that he will keep getting better and better.”

Easton Young
2A Baseball Honorable Mention
Monticello Senior pitcher/catcher/outfielder
.436 Batting avg / .488 on-base perc / 17 hits / 10 runs / 7 stolen bases / .957 fielding perc
Head Coach Josh Keyes: “At the end of Easton’s career, after throwing six effective innings in a state playoff game and leading his team in nearly every offensive category, he slowly walked off the mound with big tears swelling in the corner of his eyes. Those tears didn’t represent sadness or symbolize pain and suffering, but marked instead the end of an incredible journey for Easton, his family, and his teammates.
“Easton’s emotions served as a reminder of the sacrifice, time, hard work, commitment, and dedication to a cause much greater than himself – traits that have been diminished recently by new standards set by popularity accomplished simply by being mediocre on video or screaming with the masses, with or without conviction or understanding. The current trend is pushing youth to find the easy path, the road most traveled with the least resistance. Easton’s recognition as an All-State athlete once again proves that he has never bought in to this new-age rhetoric.
“To say that Easton was perfect would be false. To claim Easton is the best ever to don the orange and black would be naïve and a bit arrogant, but to acknowledge his success, praise his efforts, and recognize his impact on his teammates, coaches, school, and community is justified because it was hard and because he experienced both failure and success along the way.
“In the end, Easton had to be removed from the game because he had reached his limit, not because he quit. He never faltered when things were hard, nor did he ever walk away from a challenge. Instead, Easton ran for touchdowns, made game-winning threes at the state tournament, and peppered the diamond with base hit after base hit.
“He was also accomplished academically, earning a top spot as a Sterling Scholar and graduating with a high G.P.A. He also missed shots, struck out, and on occasion angered a few of his teachers. He traversed through many different opportunities and staggered at times, but ultimately was educated through his experiences.
“So, when asked what kind of an impact Easton Young had on MHS as a baseball player, a basketball player, a football player, or as a student, I would say that I personally was honored to have coached Easton and to share so many great moments with him.
“But none were more special than the moment on the mound when I looked into his eyes and saw the inkling of a tear forming, a tear that represented love, passion, and admiration for his school, his community, his teammates, and his friends. Even more, it was a tear that memorialized the journey that he was just completing.”

Garrett Young
2A Baseball Honorable Mention
San Juan Senior Infielder
.344 BA / .487 obp / 43 hits / 31 RBI 29 stolen bases / .938 Fielding %
Head Coach Jens Nielson: “Garrett bleeds baseball. I was super impressed with his attitude and maturity this season. Garrett rarely wavered in his belief that we could be a great team and his belief in himself. When things weren’t going his way, he continued to work hard, be positive with his teammates, and do his other job.
“His defense was solid all season, especially during the playoffs. Garrett’s bat came on at the right time, which helped in propelling our team to the incredible run we had. Garrett should be recognized for his abilities as a baseball player. Thanks Garrett. You will be missed.”

Parker Snyder
2A Baseball Honorable Mention
San Juan Junior Catcher /Pitcher
.388 BA / .557 obp / 40 hits / 34 RBI
10 extra-base hits / .976 Fielding %
Head Coach Jens Nielson: “The word to describe Parker is ‘reliable.’ When you have Parker on your team, you know you will win. He works hard, is always positive, and soaks everything up. He is a student of the game and finds value in practice as much as he does games.
“He is a great teammate who will jump in and teach others things he has learned that will help make them better players. He is an outstanding catcher and hitter who without a doubt helped with our successful season. We are excited to have him back for one more season. Watch for him to do great things next season.”

Averie Gilson
2A Softball Honorable Mention
San Juan Freshman Shortstop
.368 BA / .555 obp / 32 hits / 31 RBI
41 runs / 14 xbh / 15 stolen bases
Head Coach Mike Bowers: “Averie has one of the highest softball IQs I’ve seen in a player. Her only shortcoming was her desire to do more than what was possible in certain situations. In the end she relaxed more, stayed within herself, and shined.
“She did very well on defense and does exactly what we need (make all the routine plays and once in a while make a great one). Averie hit well this year and the sky is the limit for her. She only touched part of what she’s capable of doing. With this year behind her and a little reflection, she will do some very special things for San Juan softball and for herself.”

Comments by San Juan Softball Coach Mike Bowers:
“I want to stress that we are a team. The praise I give these girls could have been given to any number of players this year.
“I know the way to earn All-State honors for individuals is to travel deep into the playoffs. 
“Without their teammates, these awards and accolades do not come to fruition.
“The future of San Juan softball is bright and I look forward to increasing postseason awards greatly in the future.”

Year-end comments by San Juan High Baseball Coach Jens Nielson:
“I can’t say enough about the 2023 San Juan High School baseball team. This was such a fun season with some great baseball.
“The team was outstanding in every aspect and was one of the easiest teams to coach because it was team-led.
“The players wanted to win, they worked hard, and they worked together. I am proud of them for what they accomplished.
“I feel that several of our boys deserved higher recognition than what they got because of the numbers they put up, as well as our third-place finish in 2A.
“We are grateful to the community for the support. It was awesome to see so many fans up at Brigham Young University (for the state meet). Thank you and watch for these boys to continue to do special things next year on the baseball field.
“My coaching staff (Travis Whatcott, Wes Carter, Billy Mendoza, Derek Bethea, John Young, Kyle Hosler, and Easton Nielson) were awesome as well. 
“I hope the boys and the community know what they have in these coaches. They possess great knowledge, they care about the boys, and that never results in foul language or belittling.
“The players, parents, coaches, and community helped with a successful season. Thank you!”

San Juan Record

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