ST. GEORGE – Coaches and players faced the media Monday night in anticipation of Tuesday’s Region 9 opener and the defending-state champion Dixie Flyers were the overwhelming pick to win the region.
Coaches from the seven region teams, plus four members of the media, voted in the poll, with Dixie receiving 10 of 11 first-place votes. Snow Canyon, which lost to Dixie in the state championship game last season, was picked to finish second, with Desert Hills third and Pine View fourth. Canyon View, which won Region 12 last season, was picked fifth with Cedar and Hurricane chosen as the sixth and seventh place teams.
“This is a phenomenal region – simply loaded,” ESPN analyst Devin Dixon said. “There’s no doubt that the teams that finish at or near the top of the region will be the favorite to win state. And Dixie, with its experience and talent, deserves to be our preseason favorite. There’s no surprise there.”
In the player voting, Dixie’s Hobbs Nyberg and Snow Canyon’s Austin Deming were chosen as co-MVPs by the coaches and Dixie’s Tyson Fisher was chosen by the media as the MVP.
“They’re all spectacular players and should provide some incredible highlights this year,” said ESPN’s Andy Thompson. “When you look at their numbers from what they did last year and what they’ve already done this season, it should make for a special year in Region 9.”
Fisher led the region in wins and strikeouts from his perch on the mound and was also the top home run hitter with 10 last season. Deming led many of the other batting categories in 2017, batting .533 on the season with 45 RBIs and a 1.033 slugging percentage. Nyberg was also a prolific hitter, leading the region in runs scored and triples and finishing second to Deming in batting average at .484.
Voters were asked to select at least five players for the preseason All-Region and MVP candidates (but no more than 15). Most of the ballots had 10 players listed.
The top nine vote-getters were Nyberg, Deming, Fisher, Desert Hills’ Drew Thorpe and Trey Allred, Snow Canyon’s Breck Eichelberger, Canyon View’s Joey Lambeth, Dixie’s Kayler Yates and Desert Hills’ Bronson Andrus.
Those nine players are designated as the preseason Region 9 first team.
The preseason second team includes Dixie’s Payden Harrah and Cooper Vest, Snow Canyon’s Austin Staheli, Stephen Gubler and Jed Jensen, Desert Hills’ Sam Rhoton, Pine View’s Tanner Staheli, Canyon View’s Trace Harden and Cedar’s Markus Johnson.
Honorable mention (players receiving at least one vote) went to Dixie’s Wyatt Woodland, Snow Canyon’s Braden Baker and Zack Nowatzke, Pine View’s Dawson Staheli, Cody Riddle, Weston Sampson, Roman Lafemina and Cooper Madison, Cedar’s Chase Houston, Ethan Boettcher and Bridger Bunnell, and Hurricane’s Rylee Kent and Brock Starley.
“Top to bottom, this region is solid,” Dixon said. “Last year we saw some non-playoff teams sneak some wins off of playoff teams. Teams need to be vigilant, because everyone is vulnerable. Every team has athletes that can make plays.”
Region 9 play begins for six of the seven teams this week. Dixie take the first bye of the seven week season and the Flyers will play three games (weather permitting) in northern Utah this weekend. The other matchups see Snow Canyon squaring off with Canyon View with Tuesday’s first game being played at Warrior Field at 7:30 p.m. and the two rematching Wednesday at 4 p.m. at Falcon Field; Pine View and Hurricane meeting up with Tuesday’s game at PVHS and Friday’s at Hurricane High (both at 7 p.m.); and Desert Hills and Cedar facing each other with Tuesday night’s game at Thunder Field and Friday afternoon’s meeting at Cedar High at 4 p.m.
The region slate goes as follows:
Week 1 – DH-Cedar; SC-CV; PV-Hurricane
Week 2 – SC-PV; Cedar-CV; DH-Dixie
Week 3 – SC-Cedar; DH-CV; Dixie-Hurricane
Week 4 – PV-Cedar; DH-Hurricane; CV-Dixie
Week 5 – Dixie-Cedar; SC-Hurricane; DH-PV
Week 6 – SC-DH; PV-Dixie; CV-Hurricane
Week 7 – SC-Dixie; Cedar-Hurricane; PV-CV
Region 9 preseason projections (place, 1st votes, points)
1. Dixie (10) 76
2. Snow Canyon (1) 67
3. Desert Hills 53
4. Pine View 40
5. Canyon View 30
6. Cedar 25
7. Hurricane 17
Region 9 preseason first team
Hobbs Nyberg, DX (coaches co-MVP)
Austin Deming, SC (coaches co-MVP)
Tyson Fisher, DX (media MVP)
Drew Thorpe, DH
Trey Allred, DH
Breck Eichelberger, SC
Joey Lambeth, CV
Kayler Yates, DX
Bronson Andrus, DH
Region 9 preseason second team
Payden Harrah, DX
Cooper Vest, DX
Austin Staheli, SC
Stephen Gubler SC
Jed Jensen, SC
Sam Rhoton, DH
Tanner Staheli, PV
Trace Harden, CV
Markus Johnson, CD
Region 9 preseason honorable mentions
Wyatt Woodland, DX
Braden Baker, SC
Zack Nowatzke, SC
Dawson Staheli, PV
Cody Riddle, PV
Weston Sampson, PV
Roman Lafemina, PV
Cooper Madison, PV
Chase Houston, CD
Ethan Boettcher, CD
Bridger Bunnell, CD
Rylee Kent, HU
Brock Starley, HU
Region 9 preseason records
Snow Canyon 8-0
Desert Hills 7-1
Pine View 6-1
Canyon View 4-1
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