Prep Baseball Report

Program Preview: Dixie

Jeff Scholzen
Utah Scouting Director

"Flyer Field" Home of the Dixie Flyers

Opening Day is a week away! The Utah High School Activities Association has announced that opening day of the 2024 season will commence on Monday March 5th. Jeff Scholzen (Utah Scouting Director) begins the 2024 season coverage with our annual preseason team previews, where we will take notes from coaches, and highlight returning players, newcomers, and some sleepers. Over the next couple of weeks and leading up to opening day, we will be highlighting some of the top programs in the state with our team previews.

As our ardent readers are aware, Team Previews are answered by the Head Coaches of those programs and the scouting reports embedded in the PBR player profiles of the top players, are written by state scouting director Jeff Scholzen, the states only full-time MLB Area Scouting supervisor ever. 

With data partners Trackman Baseball, the leaders in measuring the ball flight and its characteristics off the bat for position players and out of the hand for pitchers. No one does it better. Blast Motion captures key swing metrics in evaluating the efficiency of the swing and where a player's swing is good or bad and what needs to be worked on. Swift Performance measures power output as an athlete is tested with the EZ jump mat and collecting not only the 60 yard dash, but the 10 and 30 yard dashes as well, through laser timing gates. The Edge Trainer through Vizual Edge, contains several unique vision training programs that others do not. The most notable feature is that the Edge Trainer allows for the development of binocular Convergence & Divergence. Vizual Edge eye testing and training software is used by every MLB club.

This season as in every past season, stats are collected across the state at the end of that week's play, with input from coaches, assistant coaches and ultimately myself in putting together comprehensive player content on a weekly basis with the following. 

1. Weekly Utah Power 25 Overall Team Rankings (Monday)

2. Player and Pitcher of the Week, along with other notable player performances (Tuesday)

3. Player Spotlights throughout the spring of top players who are making their mark on the HS scene in capturing college recruiting looks. 

4. I will be scouting games throughout the state and posting player videos on Twitter for college marketing purposes on a weekly basis and in some cases where action is flowing and games are staggered, such as the preseason tourneys down south on a daily basis. 

Quick Footnote: Only 7% of all HS baseball players will play college baseball and the elite of that group, which consists of only 2% will play at the D1 level. These are the players I’m watching and gleaning information on. This is determined by objective data from events, as well as the subjective eye evaluations, honed from my 30 years at the college and professional level. 

Dixie Baseball History 

One of the richest histories of Utah HS Baseball, along with the many rich traditions of Northern Utah baseball. But as far as Southern Utah Baseball, Snow Canyon has the richest tradition of the past 20 years with 4-5 state titles in the that span, but the Dixie Flyers have 2 titles in the past 5 years, along with the longest and richest tradition of any Southern Utah baseball team of the past 45 years!

The state powerhouse coincidentally started in the Don Lay coached days of the mid-70’s, when a young fireballing LHP by the name of Bruce Hurst came along! As many baseball fans of my age (54) can remember, Hurst caught national attention in 1976, when MLB scouts would track his every move. (I was 7 years old, when I would get out of school, to go trail my uncle, who was an All-State SS at Hurricane HS, and I was able to witness the throng of scouts attending Hurst’s games in that era). Hurst would go on to be selected 22nd overall in the 1st Rd of the MLB Draft, by the Boston Red Sox  

Hurst would go on to win 145 games as a star LHP that tag teamed with the great Roger Clemens in the 1980’s, to form a duo that was dubbed “Clemens and Hurst and fear the worst!” Hurst would go on to star in the 1986 World Series and was inadvertently named the World Series MVP, before the big comeback late in the game of Game 6, when Red Sox 1B had a ball go through his legs and the New York Mets would pull off one of the wildest comebacks in series history. 

Hurst became a local legend, as his name would be honored as the name of Utah Tech’s baseball stadium in 1994 as “Bruce Hurst Field.”

Many Dixie players have gone onto college baseball success during my lifetime and a handful drafted in the MLB draft. Current Asst Coach, Chunner Nyberg, would go onto to pitch at BYU, but not before being drafted out of HS in the 49th Rd by yours truly with the Los Angeles Angels. Chunner is the only Utah HS pitcher to start the state championship game all four years of his HS career, winning 2 of them! Pitching Coach, Dave Horlacher a former Dixie legend, went onto local Utah Tech and was one of the many aces for the 2004 JUCO National Championship club, before heading to Brigham Young U and being drafted in the 8th Rd.  

The current team is stacked with a senior laden class of college talent, along with a junior and senior co-aces on the mound! With that said, we present the 2024 Utah HS Team Preview of the Dixie Flyers…Enjoy!

Flyers by the Numbers:

Head Coach: Danny Ipson

Class: 4A

Region: 9

What was your 2023 Win-Loss Record: 20-9

How many State Playoff Appearances in the last 10 years: 10

How many State Title Appearances in the last 10 Years: 4

How many State Championships in the last 10 Years: 2

Key Returners with Grade/Class/Position:

2024 Ridge Erickson, C ~ BYU (2022 PBR Future Games, 2023 West Coast ProCase)

2024 Boston Vest, SS ~ New Mexico State (2022 PBR Future Games)

2024 Braxton Yates, LHP ~ CSI (2023 West Coast Games)

2024 Logan Leavitt, 3B ~ Glendale CC (2022-2023 West Coast Games)

2024 Max Orton, 2B

2024 Jake Andreas, RHP (2023 PBR Future Games Invite)

Cooper Bartholomew - SR 1B ~ CSI

Key Newcomer

2025 Carter Turley, C/UTL (2023 PBR Future Games) Transfer from Brighton HS

Who is your X-Factor to your Success: Boston Vest - definition of what we expect on and off the field with class, character, and performance

List the names of returning players who were named All-Region / All-State and their graduation year (Please specify either award or both awards)

Ridge Erickson

Boston Vest (1st Team All-Region 9 ~ 4A 1st Team All-State)

Max Orton

Braxton Yates

Please provide a summary of your teams outlook and preview to your upcoming season (Please be as thorough as possible, as this will used in a potential content article preview of your team)

Our program puts a high value on pitching and defense and look to continue to promote those values to achieve the our desired success. We have high returning number of seniors that we will rely on heavily for both defense and offensive production.



Scholzen comes to Prep Baseball after serving 9 years as the "Four Corners" Scouting Supervisor with the Milwaukee Brewers (2011-2020). Prior to his run with the Brewers, Scholzen worked for the Los Angeles Angels for 11 years (1999-2010), serving in the same capacity as the "Four Corners" Scouting Supervisor (UT, WY, So-ID, Las Vegas, AZ, CO, NM and El Paso). Scholzen received a 2002 World Series ring for his contributions as a scout. 

With the Angels, Scholzen created an Angels Scout Team, in which he coached the following MLB players: Kris Bryant, Kevin Gausman, Greg Bird, Tyler Wagner, Aaron Blair, Joey Rickard, Donn Roach, Johnny Field, Taylor Cole, Andy Burns and Paul Sewald to name a few.

During his run with the the Angels, Scholzen also served as the hitting coach for the Angels rookie ball affiliate in the Pioneer League, the Orem Owlz, helping guide the Owlz to the 2005 and 2007 Pioneer League titles, which earned Jeff two more championship rings.

In Scholzen's 20 year scouting career, he was credited with the signing of 6 MLB players starting with: Brandon Wood, SS, Angels 2003, 1st Rd ~ Efren Navarro, 1B, Angels 2007, 50th Rd ~ Donn Roach, RHP, Angels 2010, 3rd Rd ~ Tyler Wagner, RHP, Brewers 2012, 4th Rd ~ Payton Henry, C, Brewers 2016, 6th Rd ~ Ryan Aguilar, 1B/OF - Brewers 2017, 31st Rd ~ Scholzen also had an additional 3 players added to various clubs 40 man MLB rosters over the years. Currently 2019 (14th Rd) draft pick, RHP-Paxton Schultz from Utah Valley U, is currently in AAA with the Toronto Blue Jays, and is a phone call away. 

Prior to becoming a professional scout, Scholzen served as the head coach at Southern Utah University between 1993-1997. At the time, Scholzen was the youngest Division I head coach in the country, when he was first hired at 24 years old. The Southern Utah baseball program was dropped after the 2012 season. While coaching at Southern Utah, Scholzen served as the hitting coach for the Alaska Goldpanners in 1995, as they won the Alaska League Championship, and also recruited and coached World Series RHP-Ryan Jensen of the San Francisco Giants, who would finish with a top 5 finish for NL Rookie of the Year. Scholzen and Jensen had the unique opportunity, to be on opposing sides of the ledger, when Scholzen's Angels and Jensen's Giants squared off in the 2002 MLB Fall Classic.

Scholzen also had the pleasure of coaching Jensen's roommate and back up catcher, Kyle Turner who has worked in professional/major league baseball for 24 years. Kyle currently is in his 14th season with the big league Kansas City Royals and serves as the clubs Head Athletic Trainer. Turner was instramental, while a young player for Scholzen at Southern Utah, in introducing Scholzen to his first wife, the late Heidi Dalton Scholzen, who passed away in December of 2014. A native of Utah, Scholzen played at Hurricane HS and was twice named 1st team All-State and an AAU HM All-American, before moving on to Utah Valley CC and Eastern Oregon University, earning All-Conference honors on three separate occasions. Scholzen played in the Angels’ organization in 1991.

Scholzen was married to his late wife Heidi for 20 years and their union produced four children - McKyla 27, Miranda 24, McKenzie 22 and the couples only son, Grant Scholzen 18, who is a freshman 2B at D1 WCC school, the U of the Pacific (Pacific Tigers) on scholarship. After Heidi's passing in 2014, Scholzen married Cami Macias Scholzen, a widow herself and the same age as Heidi and the couple have now been married 8 years. Between both families, Jeff has 3 grandchildren and 5 step grandchildren (8 total) and the Scholzen's reside in Hurricane, UT in the bottom left SW corner of the state near the most iconic and scenic national parks in the country.