Dylan Cozens

Chaparral outfielder Dylan Cozens shows where he did most of his damage in being named the Tribune Player of the Year.

The diagram is titled, “The shot that cleared the clock.”

On it, local engineer Randy Bollig lays out the trajectory of a batted ball’s estimated flight path, taking into account conditions such as the speed of the pitch, the temperature, and the type of bat used.

The conclusion? Dylan Cozens may very well have blasted a home run 500 feet this season.

There was no better example of the Chaparral outfielder’s raw power than that May 3 playoff game against Desert Mountain, when he hit a solo homer over an oversized clock at Phoenix Municipal Stadium to help the Firebirds rally for the victory.

The official estimate had the ball traveling between 490 and 520 feet.

“When you hit it good, you don’t feel it,” Cozens said. “But when you hit it really good, you feel it.”

It was one of 19 blasts on the year for Cozens, the Tribune’s player of the year. That number that led the state by six homers and was second nationally to Las Vegas Bishop Gorman third baseman Joey Gallo’s 21, according to Maxpreps.com.

The last one came in the Division I state championship game when his walk-off blast in the bottom of the seventh inning lifted the Firebirds, who knocked out Mountain Pointe from the postseason, to a 5-3 win over Brophy for the title.

Cozens finished the season batting .520 with those 19 homers and 52 RBI. He had an on-base percentage of .591 and a slugging percentage of 1.240.

For a player who was dogged by controversy and eligibility questions in his final two high school seasons, there was never any debate about his on-field talent.

Cozens was drafted in the second round of the Major League Draft by the Phillies on June 5.

“He’s very gifted,” Chaparral coach Sam Messina said. “He’s really starting to figure out what types of things he’s capable of.”

Cozens was dismissed from the Desert Mountain baseball team midway through his junior year and immediately transferred to Chaparral. He was ruled ineligible for a calendar year by the Arizona Interscholastic Association (AIA) and didn’t play for the Firebirds as a junior.

However, the AIA and Chaparral agreed that Cozens could play from the beginning of his senior season, and he immediately took advantage.

Cozens hit six home runs in his first seven games and never slowed down.

“It was kind of annoying,” said Cozens of the eligibility questions. “I was expecting to play last year and that (ruling) happened and I wasn’t able to play. And then it happened this year, and I was like, ‘I know I’m able to play.’”

Cozens’ walk-off home run in the title game was the first of his career in a non-run-rule setting. He knew it was gone from the moment it left his bat, but Messina wasn’t so sure.

Messina was frantically coaching baserunner Nick Diamond from the third base box but stole a glance at the ball as it cleared the fence.

“I’m trying to scream as loud as I can” at Diamond, Messina said. “I peeked back up and I did get to see it land. It gives me goose bumps right now thinking about it.”

It was the second state championship of Cozens’ senior year after also capturing one on the football team. He committed to play football and baseball at Arizona in February, but signed with the Phillies to focus solely on baseball, something Cozens has never really done.

“I feel like I’m going to take off once I start playing every day,” he said.

Reach Kyle Odegard at (480) 898-6834 or kodegard@evtrib.com. Follow his blog at http://blogs.evtrib.com/varsityxtra, or find him on Twitter @Kyle_Odegard.

All-Tribune First Team

Player School Pos. Yr. Comment

Collin Braithwaite Perry C Sr. BYU-commit hit .416 with 7 HR, 34 RBI, .888 SLG

Dave Graybill Brophy 1B Sr. ASU-signee hit 11 HR; had 1.463 OPS

Scott Kingery Mountain Pointe 2B Sr. Hit .485 with 8 HR, 36 RBI

Jamie Westbrook Basha SS Jr. Batted .532 with 13 HR, slugged 1.117

Mitch Nay Hamilton 3B Sr. Gatorade POY hit .380 with 11 HR, slugged .837

Dylan Cozens Chaparral OF Sr. POY had state-best 19 HR, including walk-off blast in title game

Chris Beall Brophy OF Sr. Batted .413 with 9 HR, 50 RBI; ASU commit

M.J. Hubbs Pinnacle OF Jr. Hit .431 with 7 HR, 19 RBI; 1.379 OPS

Kyle Jorgensen Corona del Sol DH Sr. Hit .576 with 9 HR, 34 RBI; 1.577 OPS

Willie Ethington Mountain View Util Sr. Went 4-2, 1.78 ERA; 57 K, 4 BB; hit .451 with 8 HR

Keaton Cenatiempo Desert Ridge P Sr. Went 9-2 with a 1.70 ERA; 101 K in 60 IP

Tyger Talley Chaparral P Sr. Went 6-0 with a 1.85 ERA; 95 K in 53 IP

Player of the Year: Dylan Cozens, Chaparral

Coach of the Year: Mike Collins, St. Mary’s: Led Knights to a 24-5 record and a first-round playoff win over Gilbert after going 13-15 last season.

All-Tribune Second Team

Player/School /Pos. /Yr. /Comment

David Sandoval /Apache Junction /C /Sr. /Hit 6 HR with 1.402 OPS; great arm behind plate

Anthony Conforti/ Basha /1B /Sr. /.440 avg., 9 HR, 28 RBI; .881 SLG, 1.401 OPS

Aaron Smith /Red Mountain /2B /Sr. /Led D-I with .642 OBP; stole 24 bases

Jeff Paschke /Valley Christian /SS /Jr. /Hit .481 with 7 HR, 40 RBI; 1.579 OPS

David Greer /Desert Mountain /3B /Jr. /First-team All-section choice for Wolves

Garrett Jeffries /Mesquite /OF /Sr. /Hit .495 with 2 HR, 35 RBI

Lukas Treffers /St. Mary’s /OF /Sr. /Batted .469, 28 RBI, 33 SB, solid defense

Zach Gibbons /Saguaro /OF /Sr. /Hit .470, stole 32 bases; UA-bound

Josh Moore /Gilbert /DH /Jr. /Hit .449 BA with 5 HR, 38 RBI in only 78 AB; 1.349 OPS

Spencer Applebach /Mesquite /Util /Sr. /Went 8-0 with 2.28 ERA; OBP of .440, 30 runs scored

Cody Moffett /Highland /P /Sr. /UA signee a first-team All-Division I choice

Andrew Naderer /Arcadia /P /Sr. /Finished 5-2 with 1.94 ERA; 59 K in 54 IP

Honorable mention

Apache Junction: John Converse, Sr., IF; Arcadia: Gary Cornish, Sr., P/OF; Brendan Satran, Sr., OF; Drew Butler, Sr., IF; Brophy: Nick Jewett, Sr., IF; Michael Westra, Jr., RHP; Cactus Shadows: Eduardo Castro, Sr., IF; Campo Verde: Aaron Dotson, Jr. IF; Chaparral: Nick Diamond, Sr., OF; Jeremy Wolf, Sr., DH; Corona del Sol: Josh Ethier, Jr., SS; Nathan Birecki, So., P; Combs: Dustin Burke, Sr., IF; Zak Hunt, Sr., P; Desert Mountain: Cody Erickson, Jr., P; Drew McLaughlin, Sr., IF; Desert Ridge: Riley Unroe, Jr., IF; Desert Vista: Tyler Adams, Sr. IF; Hunter Rodriguez, Sr., P; Dobson: Justin Behnke, Sr., IF; D.J. Carr, Sr., OF/P; Gilbert: Dustin Peterson, Jr., SS; Justin McAllister, Sr., P; Gilbert Christian: Trae Still, Fr., IF; Hamilton: Cody Bellinger, Jr., IF; Patrick Murphy, Jr., RP; Highland: Jordan Peterson. Sr., OF; Higley: Kevyn Nunez, Sr. OF/P; Horizon: Michael McNamaraSr., C; Tanner German, Sr., IF; Marcos de Niza: Nick Fatica, Sr., OF; Noel Rodriguez, Sr. P; Mesa: Brock Hale, Jr., OF; Joseph Eto, Jr., P; Mesquite: Jon Ferrendelli, Sr., P; Jake Howard, Sr, IF; Seth Fretheim, Sr.,IF; Mountain Pointe: Joey Curletta, Sr., IF/P; Kyle Detwiler, Sr. P; Mountain View: Sterling Smith, Sr., IF; Notre Dame: Duncan Morfitt, Jr., IF; Daniel Ziemann, Sr., OF; Kelvan Pilot, Sr., P; Pinnacle: Brock Hartley, Jr. IF; Bryce Colceri, Sr., OF; Eric Melbostad, Sr., P; Poston Butte: Wyatt Pattyson, Jr., IF; Queen Creek: Chad Leonard, Sr. C/P; Marcus Still, So. OF; Red Mountain: Jordan Zimmerman, Jr., IF; John Havird, Sr., P; Saguaro: Chris Akmon, Sr., OF; Reed Austin, Sr., 1B/P; Alan Madsen, Sr., P; Scottsdale Christian: Matt Benefiel, Jr., IF; Clay Crookham, Jr. P; Scottsdale Prep: Matt Munsil, So., SS; Seton Catholic: Troy Ruggiero, Sr., P; Matt Pawlowski, Jr., IF; Skyline: Brian Melendez, Sr., OF; St. Mary’s: Nico Maldonado, Sr., IF; Irvin Ruiz, Jr., P; Antonio Coronado, Fr., OF/P; Tempe Prep: Andrew Otting-Crandall, So., OF; Valley Christian: T.J. Widner, So. IF; Westwood: Gerardo Arzaga, Sr., If; Williams Field: Brandon Amenta, Jr., SS.

Memorable Moments from the 2012 season

The Dylan Cozens saga: Chaparral’s star right fielder was kicked off the Desert Mountain team as a junior and then ruled ineligible for a calendar year following an immediate transfer to Chaparral. The ruling was shortened and Cozens was allowed to play from the start of this year and he had a monster season. He led the state in home runs and broke current White Sox star first baseman Paul Konerko’s school record for homers in a season. Cozens finished his year off in style, hitting a two-run, opposite field walk-off homer to lift the Firebirds to a 5-3 win over Brophy in the Division I state championship game.

Mesquite’s last run: This core group of Mesquite baseball players has made the Wildcats a common fixture deep in the postseason. It was another similar scene this year, as Garrett Jeffries, Seth Fretheim, Spencer Applebach and Co. made it to the state semifinals. Mesquite had a one-run lead with four outs to get, but Brophy rallied for the win, closing an impressive era for this group of Wildcats.

New tournament format: The state tournaments were expanded to 24 teams, with the top-8 getting first-round byes. Once the first two rounds were finished, the final eight teams entered into a double-elimination tournament. Early on there was worry that the power point standings would be skewed and the wrong teams would get byes, but the rankings did work and, for the most part, the best teams finished in the top eight. The coaches seemed to like this format better because the tournament wasn’t as drawn out — previously it was a 16-team double-elimination tournament — and more teams still made the playoffs.


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