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South Salt Lake Journal

Cottonwood baseball legacy of excellence continues into college

Jun 30, 2021 12:40PM ● By Brian Shaw

Catcher Hunter Neumayer will join the long list of former Colts playing in college. (Travis Barton/City Journals)

By Brian Shaw | [email protected]

The Cottonwood Colts baseball team has had a legacy of excellence dating back several years. Region championships. State titles. But when all of their amazing players graduate, where do they go? Do they disappear into thin air and join American Legion baseball teams, taking barnstorming trips across the state—or do they aspire to something even bigger than high school? 

It turns out that Cottonwood has a stellar rep of sending its baseball standouts to college. No more so was this apparent than this past year, when Christopher Rowan—who starred at The Wood in years past—gained national recognition for his exploits at the University of Utah. 

As a redshirt junior catcher, Rowan hit an impressive .301 for the Utes, who completed their season with a 17-33 record. He also hit two home runs in the same game at Dixie State earlier this year gaining national attention, and heads into the 2022 season as one of the top threats for Utah. 

Rowan was hardly the only Colt to excel in college this year. Dalton Hodge moved on to Salt Lake Community College at the behest of his new hitting coach—former Cottonwood baseball head coach Jason Crawford, said Cottonwood athletic director Gregg Southwick. 

Hodge has been a huge find at SLCC. Like any Cottonwood product, the freshman knows how to manufacture runs, he led the team with 50 and is second on the team in homers and RBI. 

This year, Hodge hit .324 in 145 at bats for the Bruins, who finished 33-17 on a year that didn’t start out so hot for SLCC, Crawford and Hodge. But by the time April hit the Bruins found their groove, as did Hodge, and SLCC reeled off a 19-3 record from April to May to earn a spot at the conference tournament. 

In the postseason, Hodge’s Bruins upended USU-Eastern 11-8 and College of Southern Idaho 9-6 in the first two rounds before losing two straight to Southern Nevada to end their season at their conference championship game. 

Other Colts who play or have played in college in the past two years include Hunter Cornia (Colorado Northwestern CC), Daniel Gonzalez (Arizona Western), Jaydon Green (Treasure Valley CC) and Jason Luke (Arizona Western). 

Since 2012, Cottonwood has sent 20 of its baseball players to college and that’s a trend the Cottonwood athletic director believes will continue under new Colts head coach Chris Shelton. 

“Chris has a huge baseball background, and like Jason did when he was here and doing great things has worked on areas that were well exposed,” said Cottonwood athletic director Gregg Southwick. 

At press time, the Colts of 2021 have had three players commit to play in college for 2022, including Grady Norris and Hunter Stinson at Colorado Northwestern. Hunter Neumayer will rejoin Hodge and his former coach Crawford at SLCC.