Team Preview: Snow Canyon

Jeff Scholzen
Utah Scouting Director

Team Preview: Snow Canyon 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. 

Name History: Snow Canyon State Park, created in 1959 has a long history of human use, and was occupied by the Anasazi Indians from A.D. 200 to 1250, utilizing the canyon for hunting and gathering. The Paiute Indians used the canyon from A.D. 1200 to the mid 1800’s. Mormon Pioneers discovered the canyon in the 1850’s, while looking for lost cattle. Modern-Day the canyon has been used for outdoor recreation and wall climbing, as well as the site of Hollywood films such as Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, the Electric Horseman and Jeramiah Johnson. Originally called Dixie State Park, it was later renamed for Lorenzo and Erastus Snow, prominent Pioneering Utah leaders.  

To HS sports fans and enthusiasts, Snow Canyon HS means state championships, and especially in Baseball. The number one recognized sponsored sport, has had a stranglehold on state playoff berths, along with Final 4 appearances and State Titles. In 2004, Reed Secrist took over the reigns of the program and they have been a dominant force at the 3A level, and upon moving up to 4A, things haven't slowed down. What makes the Warriors engine run is an amazing support system from the local Santa Clara community, while sporting one of the finest ballparks in the state.

Coaching Staff:

Secrist, a longtime minor league baseball player, played for the Pirates, Reds, Cardinals, Rangers, Blue Jays and Indians organizations over 12 seasons. Secrist reached the AAA level for quite a while, with plenty of success. Secrist also played briefly in Japan for the Hanshin Tigers. One thing that separated Secrist’ coaching staff from others over the years was his pitching coaches. First was Wally Ritchie, who himself played 13 years professionally for various organizations, and pitched parts of four seasons in the Major Leagues for the Philadelphia Phillies. Ritchie spent 14 years with Secrist, before moving to CA for a can’t turn down job offer outside of baseball. For the past 2 seasons and moving forward, Ritchie’s successor has been former 13 year MLB pitcher, Brandon Lyon, who pitched for a number of big league teams. Both Secrist and Lyon, are former Dixie College (Now Dixie State) stars. Ironically at one point, Secrist, Ritchie, Lyon and my family, were all neighbors in a 3-4 block radius of each other for 15 years. The school has produced a vast amount of current, future and former college baseball players coming out of the same neighborhoods. 

Head Coach: Reed Secrist (18th Year)

UHSAA Classification: 4A (Region 9)

State Tournament Appearances in the past 10 years: 2010-2019 (9)

Number of Final 4 State Tournament Appearances in last 10 years: 5

Number of State Title appearances in last 10 years: 4

Number of State Titles in last 10 Years: 2

# of returning position players: 7

# of returning pitchers: 11

Team Strengths: Secrist said “We are not overpowering, but we are above average in every position. Solid 1-9 in the lineup and have up to 5 more hitters that could break the lineup. Our pitching is not overpowering, but they throw K’s and compete

Team Weaknesses: Secrist also mentioned “With depth it can sometimes cause problems behind the scenes, and sometimes issues could come without warning, but so far haven’t seen anything yet.”  

Top Returning Players

2021 Mason Strong, C, R/R 601 185 (Signed w/ BYU) #5 Ranked player in class

2021 Landon Frei, SS, R/R 5-10 170 (Signed w/ Utah) #9 Ranked player in class

2021 Carston Herman, LHP, 6-1 185 (Signed w/ Dixie State U) #14 Ranked player in class

2021 Mayze Mosher, 3B/OF, R/R 6-2 185 (Signed w/ College of Southern Navada)

2021 Easton Rigby, 1B, R/R

2021 Jackson Ence, OF/RHP, L/R

2022 Isaac Lyon, RHP/2B, R/R, 6-2 175 (Multiple D1 offers - Uncommitted) #7 Ranked player in class

2022 Luke Anderson, OF/RHP 5-10 165 (BYU Commit) #2 Ranked player in class

2022 Jake Johnson, UTL, R/R 

Top Players Lost from 2020:

Vaughn Deming, OF R/R (USU-Eastern)

Kyler Stuart, RHP, 6-2 165 (Anoka-Ramsey CC (MN)

Who is Your X-Factor: Mason Strong


Summary of Your Team:

“This is a solid group of kids that love to compete and know how to win! If we play defense, we should be good?” 

Authors Note: I've watched this group come through the ranks of baseball, since they were young kids. The 2022 class of players, played for Brandon Lyon in Little League and all the way through present day on Team Utah '22. In Little League, these players represented the state of Utah in San Bernardino, CA at the Western Regionals and appeared on ESPN in their LLWS coverage. They have played high caliber competition during the summer/fall, and were off to a 6-1 record last year, when CoVid shut the season down. This group has the makings of a 4A state title contending team and are the early and odds on favorite to take the Region 9 crown. With a middle INF of Landon Frei, SS and Isaac Lyon, 2B as well as Mayze Mosher manning the hot corner and Easton Rigby at 1B, their INF will be strong. The OF will be anchored by Luke Anderson in CF, but the story of this team will be the X-Factor behind the plate in Mason Strong, who will be in a group of 5 players across the state rankings, to contend for Utah's coveted "Mr. Baseball" award. Strong will be scouted professionally and carries a big bat with bat speeds at 85 MPH with EV's of 100+ MPH. The Pitching staff will be another major strength, as Isaac Lyon will front a rotation, along with Carston Herman, LHP in league play, making for a left/right combo that will be tough for opponents to score on. Luke Anderson will be called upon to shut games down in the late innings. Both pitchers possess mid to upper 80's FB's and Lyon projects to be a 90+ MPH arm before all is said and done with his HS career. 

Side Note: Region 9 (Southern Utah) has won every state championship at the 3A/4A level, all but twice during the period of 2010-2019! Chances are the Region is poised for another run starting in 2021.