A young Jordan baseball team shows talent for 2017
The 2017 Jordan High School baseball team. (Chad Fife/Jordan Head Coach)
The Jordan Beetdiggers would like to play a bit later in the year than last season. In 2016, Jordan placed third in their region and went to the state tournament. There they lost their first round game against Mountain Crest and wound up in the elimination bracket, where they won a game but were knocked out of the tournament by region rival Cottonwood, who went on to place third. The 2017 season is looking similar, as the Beetdiggers are sitting behind Bingham, who took second in the state two years ago, and Cottonwood.
Jordan is young team, there are no seniors on this year’s roster and only a few returning varsity players from last season. Noah Hennings is a junior and will man the hot corner for Jordan this season. Another junior, Noah Bachman, is the team’s starting catcher, while sophomore second baseman Jake Shaver is returning and will pitch as well. Gage Edwards, a junior, pitched well early for Jordan also.
The team’s goals include competing for a region title and making the state tournament, hopefully lasting a bit longer. Jordan isn’t looking too far ahead, though. They plan on working hard every day and approaching the season one game at a time.
“Reaching our goals will take a lot of hard work and unselfishness. We have to go one game at a time,” said four-year head coach Chad Fife.
According to Fife, his team is extremely talented in spite of its lack of experience and youth. He also thinks the youthful jitters that accompany many young players contributed to a slow start for 2017. The Beetdiggers began region play 3-3, which they’ll need to improve upon if they are to play deep into this year’s state tournament. But, Fife isn’t worried about the talent he has on the field.
“We have three or four guys who could play at the next level if they work hard and have a bit of luck,” the coach said.
Jordan started the year with a non-region doubleheader against Riverton. The Beetdiggers lost the first game on March 11, 7-5, but avenged the loss with a big win later in the day, 18-16 in extra innings. Region play began on March 21 against West Jordan. Jordan lost a close one, 6-5. The team traveled the following day to the Jaguars’ home field and evened the series, 8-1. But, West Jordan won the third game on March 24, 7-4. The next region foe to face the Beetdiggers was Copper Hills, beginning on March 28. Jordan took two of three from the Grizzlies, outscoring Copper Hills in the series, 24-9. Jordan began the month of April in Las Vegas, playing in the always stacked Bishop Gorman Desert Classic.
The first round of the state tournament begins May 16, and the semifinal and final rounds will be played before the end of the month at Utah Valley University. Fife believes in his team and thinks they have a great chance to get to where they would like to go. But, he also understands that high school baseball is only the beginning for the young men on his team.
“The game isn’t just about baseball, there are life lessons there that go well beyond baseball,” Fife said. “Hopefully, they are learning to be better young men at the same time.”
And what is the biggest message Fife believes can taken from this experience, whether it be on the field or years later on the job?
“Where there is a will, there is a way,” he said.