Prep Baseball Report

3A State Champions: Juab Wasps

Jeff Scholzen
Utah Scouting Director

3A Utah State Championship

Juan Diego Catholic vs Juab



Well it came down to the matchup, everyone in 3A, either anticipated or wanted to see it happen? The defending 2022 3A State Champion, Juan Diego Catholic Soaring Eagles vs the Juab Wasps, the #9 ranked team in the recent PBR Utah Power 25. The Wasps were also the #1 team in the 3A UHSAA RPI. The Wasps have held down a top 10 spot in the Power 25, since week 2 of the UHSAA baseball season. Many around the state wondered why a 3A team from Nephi, UT was ranked so high and placed amongst the bigger schools from the metroplexes of Provo and Salt Lake City?

Well here’s why: The Wasps had been built over the previous four years by former head coach Brett Ludlow, who starting in 2018, and excluding the CoVid 2020 season, put up overall and region win-loss records below: 

Head Coach - Brett Ludlow

2018 (20-8 8-2)

2019 (22-4 10-0) Region 14 Champs

2021 (24-4 9-1)  Region 14 Champs

2022 (22-7 12-0) Region 14 Champs

Head Coach - Josh Park

2023 (25-3 6-2) 3A Utah State Champions!

But Coach Ludlow decided to step down after the 2022 season, as his son Dalin was now a sophomore SS/2B at NCAA D2 Minot State in Minot, ND and wanted to be able to follow and travel to see his son play, as it would be tough to do so, while also coaching at the same time as Dalin was playing. Dalin was the 2021 3A Player of the Year and Coach Ludlow had built a program in style, class and tradition such as the bigger schools in the state, with multiple “swag” uniform combos, numerous players playing for large travel ball organizations, playing alongside the players from the metroplex. The talent level as I deemed it, from my looks in early season tournaments in the St. George area, mirrored a team that could play with the big boys in St. George at the 4A level or compete and win consistently at the 5A level in Utah County. So when I would see this club play, they would get off the bus, looking like they were in the 4A class of Snow Canyon’s, Desert Hills, Dixie, Crimson Cliffs and had that same type vibe to them. 

The talent level was being built with a group of younger players coming in behind the older group of players such as: 2023 C-Wyatt Payton, 2024 RHP-Kanyon Mattinson, 2023 RHP/1B-Cael Smith and 2023 3B-Cooper Ford. The group of younger players such as Mattinson was also bolstered by sophomore DH/LHP-Connor Cowan and fellow sophomore sensation SS/RHP-Austin Park, a ‘22 PBR Future Games alum and one of the top 200 players in the country, who has two D1 power 5 offers on the table and is talking to numerous other P5 schools in the PAC 12, Big 12 and ACC, along with a nationally ranked Big West school. Park so happens to be the #1 ranked player in the ‘25 class by PBR Utah. With that group comprising the bulk of the offense and pitching rotation, the Wasps were now built for another crack at the state title that eluded them a year ago, when they were surprisingly knocked out of the state tourney, for the second year in a row, in the state semifinals. 

The very talented Soaring Eagle from Juan Diego, who were also built with a younger group of next level college talent by Head Coach-Taylor Berg, swooped in and ran roughshod over the competition to win the ‘22 state title. Juan Diego has also built a program composed of players such as 2023 3B/RHP-Malik Harris, last year's Region 15 MVP. Harris a Memphis commit, who runs his FB into the 90-91 range, along with 2024 LHP-Andrew Lombana who is talking to a handful of schools and 2024 CF-Zach Carlson, who is a Big 10 commit to Northwestern. All three players have either played in the PBR Future Games or West Coast Games or both. So the talent level on the field, would rival any 5A/6A matchup. 

It also goes without saying, that the #2 seeded Carbon Dinos, featured likely Region 12 MVP and potential 3A MVP, along with Park, in 2023 RHP-Wyatt Falk, who led the state in wins with an unblemished 9-0 record, along with his top 3 leaderboard state total of 90 strikeouts, which are the result of a FB clocked at 88-91 mph in the quarterfinal win vs Power 25 ranked Canyon View, where Falk threw a 5 inning mercy rule NO-HITTER. Falk is set to embark on a two year church mission this summer and upon his return, he will be taking his talents to NJCAA Region 18 champion Salt Lake CC. So as one can see, the talent is plentiful around the state and those that only see their own region schedule and rest on the fact that they are a bigger school, thus have more talent, one would think that, but the college commitments on paper around the state say otherwise.  

Now that Coach Ludlow was focused on his family, the Wasps needed a new leader to continue carrying the torch for what he had built. Former Snow College pitcher and Juab HS star in his own right, Josh Park who was a member of the last Juab state title winning team in 1998, was perfectly situated within the community and his son being the aforementioned Austin Park. Coach Park reached out to myself and some legendary 5A/6A head coaches in the area, for a recommendation for the job, and I was excited and humbled to write a letter on his behalf. The right guy now was in place to make sure the ship stayed on course and did it ever! 

One of the pitfalls of coaching a team or any team, but especially a team built like Juab, was that if the school decided to go with another coach that had a ball paying son, like Coach Ludlow, that coach I mentioned, either had to have his son be the worst player on the team, or the best player on the team, so there that there was no in between. With Dalin Ludlow the most talented player playing under his father, the same could be said about Austin Park also playing under his father. But this team had the pieces already in place and with the majority of last year’s team coming back, the ship was sailing fast towards a potential title run. 

The Wasps also have an advantage that other schools, regardless of classification don’t have, and that is an 80K square foot indoor multi-use facility, that in addition to the basketball and volleyball courts that are in place, a 40 yard all turf football field, that also doubles for an infield for baseball and softball. The Fieldhouse comes with drop down batting cages and the big 40 yard football portion has an enclosed net surrounding the field that can serve for open air hitting and mock pitcher/hitter scrimmages. While others are snowed in, or locked out of facilities, the Wasps have now become an all sports powerhouse in the state, one that not only can compete for titles in the major sports at the 3A level, but the town is sports crazy and has players, parents and the next generation of younger athletes excited to become future Wasp athletes. PBR Utah has utilized the facility for a Preseason ID showcase that saw over 70 HS players in attendance and we will be hosting a Rising Stars ID event for the classes of 2027-2028 on June 7th at what the locals call the facility “The Hive”. 

The Fieldhouse in its 1st year of operation, allowed the Wasps to be ready to hit the ground running, once the 2023 baseball season got underway down south in St. George for the annual pilgrimage of pre-season tournaments that bring close to half of the state's baseball playing schools to the 6 Washington County HS fields. 

The 2023 season kicked off for the Wasps as they participated in back to back preseason tourneys at Pine View, Desert Hills and Crimson Cliffs HS in St. George. The Wasps got out of the blocks in a hurry as they reeled off a 7-1 record to start the season. What made this opening round of wins unique, was who they did it against in preparing for their upcoming region and other non-region schedule. The following games and their results and classification of opponents:

  1. 6A Cyprus / W 6-1 (Cyprus 21-4 and Region 4 Champs - PBR Power 25 school)

  2. 3A Carbon / W 9-4 (Carbon 19-7 and Region 12 Champs - PBR Power 25 school)

  3. 4A Green Canyon / L 11-5 (Green Canyon 16-11, qualified for the final 8 teams in the 4A State Tourney)

  4. 3A Richfield / W 14-1 (Richfield 11-14)

  5. 5A Hillcrest / W 13-3 (Hillcrest 1-18) 

  6. 5A Skyline / W 14-0 (Skyline 8-17)

  7. 6A Copper Hills / W 13-0 (Copper Hills 17-7) 

  8. 6A West Jordan / W 6-3 (West Jordan 1-18)

Two games later 

   10) 5A Tooele / W 10-2

Yes there are some bad records amongst a couple of bigger schools, but schools two and three classes bigger than a 3A school should not be losing to a school the size of Juab, but they did and do, thus 7 of the 9 opening wins of the season came vs 5A/6A schools. What this does point to is that, as I’ve said all along in previous pieces, big schools will always have the size and speed advantage in sports like basketball and football, but baseball is an entirely different sport. If a team has talent and in cases like Juab with next level college type talent, size doesn’t matter and it hasn’t mattered for 5 years of doing virtually the same thing the Wasps did in 2023. 

The Wasps were preseason ranked by PBR Utah at #19 and climbed to #7 after the first two weekends of play. Week 3 and 4 saw a #9 ranking. Week 5 saw a climb back to #7 once again. The Wasps have floated between the 7 and 9 spots the rest of the way until the dogpile at Gates Field on May 13th, culminating in the first State Championship, now at the 3A level, since Coach Josh Park and the Wasps last title 25 years ago. Fittingly it was Austin Park on the mound, closing out the game in the 7th inning vs the defending champs. 



Many and all players contribute to a state title type team, but also teams of this caliber do need that one player at times, that gets hot at the right time, and that player for the Wasps, was senior catcher Wyatt Payton, who I expect to be making a college commitment announcement any day now. All Payton did in the final three days of the run to the title was put up some memorable performances for the ages. As Coach Park told me by text message, “Wyatt Payton has been off the charts, he’s seeing beach balls right now!” Payton’s performance over the last three games were as impressive as one could only dream of. In the quarterfinal shootout vs Manti, in a 22-15 game that saw more twists and turns, than a buckled road, Payton would go 4-5 with 2 runs scored, one 2B, a 3-run HR and a game changing grand slam HR! With Manti up 16-14 in the bottom of the 6th inning, Payton hit a ball well over 400’ into a still wind, to dead center field with the bases loaded and once the ball left the park, the roof blew off Gates Field, giving the Wasps an 18-14 lead and Payton a 9 RBI dominating performance! The Wasps would go on to score four more runs to put the game out of reach and shut the door in the top of the 7th inning. In the semifinal win over Carbon 6-5, Payton was 3-4 with an RBI and 2 2B’s. As for the state title game, Payton didn’t get much to hit, as he was 1-1 with 2 walks, but that one hit was a towering 2-run HR to left field. In the final 3 games of the tournament, Payton went 8-10 with 3 runs scored, 3 HR’s and drove in 12 runs! 

It was fun to chronicle and follow the Wasps run to the state championship this spring, as there were many naysayers from around the state that didn’t see this juggernaut along the way, or know the deep dive into this team like PBR Utah did. But regardless of records, when you beat schools handily from 3A-6A, you are more than deserving of hoisting the trophy in the end. 

Congrats to the towns of Nephi, Mona, Levan, Mills and Rocky Ridge that serve Juab HS. Congrats go to the parents, the support system in place, the outstanding coaching staff and especially the players that made up the 2023 3A State Champion Juab Wasps. 



2023 PBR CA-NV-AZ-UT ProCase (Invite Only) UT 06/04 University of Southern California - Dedeaux Field
Utah Rising Stars ID UT 06/07 The Hive - Juab High School Fieldhouse
2023 PBR Scout Day: NorCal Valley Utah UT 06/12 Snow Canyon HS
2023 PBR Scout Day: CBA Summit UT 06/17 Snow Canyon HS
2023 PBR Scout Day: Rawlings Tigers UT 06/29 Skyline High School
Top Prospect Games (Invite-Only) UT 07/11 Salt Lake Community College
PBR Junior Future Games NATIONAL 07/25 LakePoint
2023 PBR Future Games (Utah Invite) UT 07/26 LakePoint Sports - Cartersville, GA




Scholzen was brought on as the Utah Scouting Director for Prep Baseball Report 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 a similar capacity as the Four Corners Scouting Supervisor. In all, Scholzen served as a full-time scout for 20 years. Scholzen also 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 likes of current and former major league players: Kris Bryant, Kevin Gausman, Greg Bird, Tyler Wagner, Aaron Blair, Joey Rickard, Donn Roach, Johnny Field, Taylor Cole and Paul Sewald to name a few. During his run with the the Angels, Scholzen served as the hitting coach for the Angels rookie ball affiliate with the Pioneer League Orem Owlz, helping guide the Owlz to the 2005 and 2007 Pioneer League titles.

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 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. 

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 from 1991-1992.