Region 9 baseball: Dixie’s Cooper Vest heads all-region team as MVP

Dixie High School pitcher Cooper Vest pitches against Spanish Fork, St. George, Utah, May 20, 2019. Vest was recently named MVP of Region 9. | Photo by Jeff Richards, St. George News

ST. GEORGE — Region 9’s all-region baseball team has been announced, with Dixie High junior Cooper Vest being named most valuable player.

Dixie pitcher Cooper Vest, Dixie at Cedar, Cedar City, Utah, April 23, 2019 | Photo by Jeff Richards, St. George News / Cedar City News

Vest, a left-handed pitcher, posted a 7-1 record and had a 1.28 earned run average on the mound for the Flyers this season. Offensively, Vest had a batting average of .479, hitting 6 home runs and driving in 41 RBIs.

Beyond those impressive stats, however, Dixie head coach Danny Ipson says what sets Vest apart is his ability to make his fellow players better.

“Anybody that watches him play, is going to have the same response and the same reaction. And that is, not only is he a spectacular athlete and a spectacular baseball player, but he is a great competitor and he brings up the level of his teammates on and off the field with his leadership and his example.”

Vest helped Dixie to state baseball titles in 2017 and 2018, including hitting the game-winning three-run homer in the state championship game as a freshman to give Dixie a 6-4 win over Snow Canyon. In 2018, Vest dominated as the winning pitcher in a 10-0 state semifinal victory over Juan Diego, after which the Flyers edged Desert Hills 1-0 for the state 4A title the next day. 

Desert Hills pitcher Drew Thorpe, Pine View at Desert Hills, St. George, Utah, April 26, 2019 | Photo by Dave Larson, St. George News

This year, however, Dixie was unable to contain Desert Hills’ offensive barrage when the same two teams met each other again for the state title. Dixie finished the 2019 season as Region 9 champions with an 11-1 record, while Desert Hills placed second at 10-2. The two teams beat each other 3-0 on the road as they split the regular season series; however, in the state championship game, Desert Hills rolled to a 16-3 win over the Flyers to capture the 4A state title.

Six players from the state champion Desert Hills Thunder made the all-region team, with Drew Thorpe, Lance Kinross, Bronson Andrus and Blake Milne making the first team and Clayton Lott making the second team.

Joining Vest on the first team from Dixie are Kayler Yates and Brenden Blanchard, while Flyer teammates Hunter Knighton, Ajay Leavitt and Blake Oaks made the all-region second team.

See the full listing of the players on Region 9’s all-region teams below, as selected by the coaches.

Region 9 all-region baseball team, 2019


  • Cooper Vest, Dixie.

First team all-region

  • Kayler Yates, Dixie.
  • Drew Thorpe, Desert Hills.
  • Lance Kinross, Desert Hills.
  • Brock Secrist, Snow Canyon.
  • Brenden Blanchard, Dixie.
  • Bronson Andrus, Desert Hills.
  • Landon Frei, Snow Canyon.
  • Colten Shumway, Canyon View.
  • Max Raddatz, Hurricane.
  • Blake Milne, Desert Hills.
  • Tanner Eyre, Cedar.

Second team all-region

  • Andre Castaneda, Cedar.
  • Dallen Turner, Desert Hills.
  • Brock Starley, Hurricane.
  • Tim Shakespeare, Snow Canyon.
  • Hunter Knighton, Dixie.
  • Clayton Lott, Desert Hills.
  • Travis Davenport, Snow Canyon.
  • Luke Green, Pine View.
  • Ajay Leavitt, Dixie.
  • Blake Oaks, Dixie.
  • Carson Holyoak, Snow Canyon.
  • Mason Strong, Snow Canyon.

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