Team Preview: Jordan HS


Jeff Scholzen
Utah Scouting Director

Team Preview: Jordan HS

Players in Utah have been eager to compete for their high school programs and it feels as if we are getting close. 2020 saw the cancellation of the 2020 season, however as may approached, it began looking like Utah was going to be able to resume baseball activities  with the annual American Legion season. The UHSAA has announced that the first day of official team practice/tryouts will be Monday March 1st, with the opening day of the 2021 season on March 8th. Programs have been allowed to practice since the 1st part of January, with open field workouts, however there will be a two week moratorium of practices and coach involvement, between the dates of Feb 15-28. PBR Utah will begin its 2021 season coverage starting with our team by team previews, as we highlight some of the top programs statewide in our team previews. PBR Utah will also be publishing its state Power 25 rankings that will be updated every Monday once the season begins. Throughout the season, PBR will be pumping out coverage, highlighting individual players, games, rankings, scouting reports and nominating a player of the week. PBR looks forward to getting out there this spring to see some great baseball. 

Of Note: As we countdown to opening day with the team previews, we still have one big event to kick off the HS season with the PBR Utah Preseason All-State. This event will be the kick off to the season, as it's an INVITE only event of the top players in the 2021-2024 classes. 

School History: Jordan High School students are known as Beetdiggers. This was due to the large areas surrounding the schools which were sugar beet fields. Up until about 1950, at harvest time, classes were usually cancelled during vacations of a week or two in October, which allowed students to assist with the harvest. Their mascot is "Digger Dan."

Recent Coaching/Team History: Jordan HS’ former and current head coach have ties dating back to their college playing days. Former Beetdigger head coach, Ron Anderson and current head coach Chad Fife (who assisted Anderson, before taking over the reigns) along with myself were all college teammates at Utah Valley CC (now Utah Valley U) in the late 80’s. Anderson would go on to play at the U of Utah, with Fife and myself at Eastern Oregon U. The Beetdiggers have been a constant force in the 5A state tourney for most of this century, and appeared in every state tourney this decade. Along with not only appearing in the big dance, but Jordan has played for the state championship on FIVE different occasions this past decade. A run like that may happen in a state, with 2-3 teams in a 20 year period, and Jordan is one of those teams. But the recent success of Fife, who took over for his friend in Anderson, has continued the dominance, taking home the 2014 and 2018 5A state championship trophies! When you build a run of success and a culture of winning, along with talented players, it’s natural that some of them will go on to even further success at the collegiate and professional levels. In 2007, former Jordan star SS, Garrett Nash would be selected in the 4th Rd out of HS by the Texas Rangers and his teammate James Mahler, RHP, would go onto various colleges, including the U of Arkansas. 

Below you will find a sample of players within the past decade that have gone on to collegiate and professional baseball success. There are many others that have done so, however these are just a few of the slew of players the Beetdiggers have produced on an annual basis. 

Recent Former Star Players

(Brennon Anderson, Former Beetdigger star / Region 3 MVP as well as a former BYU All-WCC 2B)

(Alex Fife - former Beetdigger All-State OF’er and Colorado Mesa U. legend)

           2015 RMAC Player of the Year / NCAA D2 two time All-American

(Hunter Swapp -former Beetdigger All-State OF’er and current BYU player)

(Jacob Shaver - former Beetdigger All-State INF’er and current Arizona Wildcats player)

(Former Jordan/BYU star, Colton Shaver - current Houston Astros Organization)

 

Current College Commitments

(2021 Micah Ashman, LHP, U Utah commit)

(2021 Ethan He, SS/2B - Dixie State commit)

(Team Building Day at Camp Williams)

2018 5A State Champions!

(Jordan Players celebrate their 2018 5A State Championship)

(Coach Chad Fife holding the 2014 5A State Championship Trophy)


Head Coach: Chad Fife (8th Year as HC, 15th overall at Jordan)

2014 and 2018 5A State Champions - 2018 5A Coach of the Year!

 

State Classification/Region: 5A / Region 3

Number of State Tourney Appearance in last 10 Years: 10

**Number of Final 4 State Tourney Appearances: 10

**Number of State Titles games in the last 10 Years: 5

Number of State Titles in the last 10 Years: 2

Number of Returning Position Players: 12

Number of Returning Pitchers: 6

Expectations for Upcoming Season: 

“To get to the Final 4 once again.” 


Team Strengths: 

Pitching and Defense

Team Weaknesses: 

“If there is a team weakness it's our depth, we have a small roster.”


Top Returning Players: 

2021 Micah Ashman, LHP, 6-8  210 (U of Utah commit) Will be in attendance at the preseason All-State event in Hurricane on March 6th. Ashman is the PBR Utah #7 ranked prospect in the ‘21 class. 

2021 Ethan He, SS, 510 175 R-R (Dixie State U commit) 

2021 Tyler Fitch, RHP 6-1 190 (Uncommitted) 

Who is Your X-Factor: “My entire sophomore class”


Players attending the PBR preseason All-State event on March 6th in Hurricane:

Micah Ashman, LHP

Evan Atkinson, SS

Cole Kershaw, 1B

Stockton Mathis, OF

Cade Nalder, C/3B

Carter Perry, C/RHP

SUMMARY: 

Below is an excerpt from the Sandy Journal, that is linked above on Coach Fife’s name. As a former teammate and friend of Fife, I couldn’t say it any better myself. Read below: 

“Fife just restocks the shelves every year,” Jordan Athletic Director Brandon Watts said. “This is the school where kids that play baseball want to play.”

Although winning baseball games has its advantages, Fife makes sure his players stay grounded. Every year they become involved in different community services, which almost always includes a few days of feeding the homeless.

“If your players become good young men that means more to me than winning or any type of award,” Fife said.

For Watts, having a coach like Fife on his staff makes his job that much easier as he rarely has to worry about the baseball program.

“I love his demeanor with the kids,” Watts said. “He treats the players well and he runs a good program. I have never heard a parent or kid say anything bad about him. To have a program that has competed at the top for as long as we have and not have any troubles is a great thing. At the high school level we always have people that want to be nitpicky with our coaches. It just doesn’t happen with Fife.”

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Coach Fife commented that “this will be an intriguing year for us, we have some very good battles going on at multiple positions so far. I am excited to see who steps up to the plate for us. Our pitching will be good this year. Our team is well balanced and we are confident in our talented group of players in a tough Region 3.”

Look for Jordan to make another deep run into the 5A state tourney once again and with championship expectations always there, the Beetdiggers have the talent to potentially hoist another trophy in 2021.