For the 2023 Deseret News baseball Players of the Year, whether they got the job done on the mound, behind the plate, at the plate or in the field, they were the best of the best in their respective classification.

All five led their teams to state championships this season, including a pair that helped their school end long title droughts.

Here’s a look at the 2023 Deseret News baseball Players of the Year.

American Fork’s Ryder Robinson (7) steals third base before getting tagged by Westlake’s Mason Hartle (10) at Westlake High in Saratoga Springs on Thursday, April 27, 2023. | Laura Seitz, Deseret News

Class 6A Player of Year

Ryder Robinson, American Fork, Sr.

You’d be hard pressed to find a player with a better body of work on the diamond over the past three years than American Fork’s Ryder Robinson.

A career .447 average in 96 games, 136 hits, 75 RBIs and 158 runs scored.

Whether he was batting lead off or in the No. 3 hole this year, he was a nightmare to get for opposing pitchers and a big reason the Cavemen shook off their late-season rust to ultimately claim the 6A state championship.

“Great hitter with a smooth glove. One of the best hitters I have coached in 22 years. Has a bright future and a work ethic to progress in the game. Outstanding player and an unbelievable person,” said American Fork coach Jared Ingersoll.

Skyridge’s power-pitching, power-hitting Tyler Ball named Deseret News 2023 Mr. Baseball
High school baseball: Deseret News 2023 6A All-State team
High school baseball: Deseret News 2023 5A All-State team
High school baseball: Deseret News 2023 4A All-State team
High school baseball: Deseret News 2023 3A All-State team
High school baseball: Deseret News 2023 2A All-State team

The final tally this season for the TCU signee was a .466 average with 14 doubles, eight home runs, and 27 RBIs. He reached base in 30 of 32 games this season with an on-base percentage of .573.

Robinson’s greatness was on display in American Fork’s title clinching 8-7 win over Skyridge in the 6A state championship series. In that game he went 4 for 4 with a double, a home run and five RBIs. His two-out double in the bottom of the sixth put American Fork ahead for good 8-7.

Timpanogos’ Billy Bird throws a pitch
Timpanogos’ Billy Bird throws a pitch during a 5A baseball state championship quarterfinal game against Orem at the Miller Park Complex in Provo on Monday, May 22, 2023. Timpanogos won 13-4. | Kristin Murphy, Deseret News

Class 5A Player of Year

Billy Bird, Timpanogos, Sr.

If one game summed up how good Billy Bird was this season and how important he was to Timpanogos, it was his performance against Salem Hills on the mound with a spot in the state championship game up for grabs.

He took a no-hitter into the seventh inning, and despite giving up two hits in succession, he regrouped quickly to lead Timpanogos to the 2-0 win in his final high school game on the mound.

In the three-game championship series beginning the next day against Lehi, he let his bat do the damage as he went a combined 5 for 9 in helping the T-Wolves claim the 5A state title.

“Billy had an amazing season, both on the mound and at the plate. Even more impressive than statistics is that he was voted by his teammates as Most Valuable Teammate. He was usually the first to the cage after games and practices and the last one to leave,” said Timpanogos coach Kim Nelson. “His almost no-hitter against a good hitting Salem Hills team in the semifinals shows how he rose to the occasion of big games.”

He finished the season with a sparkling 10-0 record on the mound with a 1.19 ERA and 71 strikeouts. At the plate he hit .348 with three home runs and 36 RBIs.

Crimson Cliffs’ Petey Soto (wearing white) dives into home
Crimson Cliffs’ Petey Soto (4) dives into home against Snow Canyon in the 4A state championship at UVU in Orem on Saturday, May 20, 2023. | Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News

Class 4A Player of Year

Petey Soto, Crimson Cliffs, Sr.

Petey Soto was already a first-team all-stater the year prior, but the jump he made offensively this season for Crimson Cliffs made the defending state champs even that much better.

The Utah Tech signee hit .467 with three home runs, 14 doubles, 30 RBIs and only eight strikeouts. The year prior he hit .300 with four doubles, 15 RBIs and 23 strikeouts.

He team finished 26-4 and rolled to the repeat state championship.

“Petey is a special type of talent. His playmaking abilities changed games for us all year. If you had the chance to watch him play you would know exactly what I’m talking about. I love this young man and I’m grateful I had the opportunity to watch him grow up,” said Crimson Cliffs coach Justin Abbott.

He reached base in 28 of 30 games, and in Crimson Cliffs’ seven playoff games in which it went 6-1, he went 11 of 28 with five RBIs.

Soto was standout defensively at shortstop as well for the Mustangs.

“He’s a competitor and always plays the game hard. Petey is softspoken but a great leader by how he plays and carries himself on and off the field. Players like him don’t come around often and it’s been an absolute pleasure coaching him for the last three years,” said assistant coach Kyle Boyer.

Juab catcher Wyatt Payton reaches for a pitch
Juab catcher Wyatt Payton reaches for a pitch as the Wasps and Juan Diego Catholic High School in the 3A baseball state championship at Kearns High on Saturday, May 13, 2023. Juab won 7-4. | Scott G Winterton, Deseret News

Class 3A Player of Year

Wyatt Payton, Juab, Sr.

At the heart of Juab’s dream season and first state championship in 25 years was senior catcher Wyatt Payton.

He finished the season with a .494 batting average, a .629 on-base percentage, four home runs and 37 RBIs, and was an absolute beast in the final three games of the season at Kearns High School.

In wins over Manti, Carbon and defending champion Juan Diego, he went a combined 7 of 9 with two doubles, two home runs, two walks and nine RBIs.

“Wyatt just had himself a weekend. In fact, he kind of put us on his back offensively this weekend and really created a ton of momentum for us offensively. Super proud of him. He’s a kid who’s played baseball since he was 2. He eats, drinks and sleeps it and for him to go out like this, Super, super happy,” said Juab coach Josh Park after that game.

At the catcher position he finished with a .991 fielding percentage with just two errors and 218 putouts.

“Wyatt played the role of field general from the catcher spot and anchored the batting line up as cleanup hitter. His explosive bat in the playoffs helped Juab claim its second ever baseball title. Wyatt’s love of baseball, work ethic helped make him one of the leaders on this team,” said Park, whose team finished the season with a 25-3 record thanks in large part to Payton.

Kanab’s Griffin Bone (4) shown here in the 2A state championship at Larry H. Miller Field at BYU in Provo on Saturday, May 13, 2023, helped Kanab win the 2A state championship. | Laura Seitz, Deseret News

Class 2A Player of Year

Griffen Bone, Kanab, Jr.

On April 14 this season, Kanab was crushed by Enterprise 12-1 to fall to 5-7 on the season. Incredibly, the Cowboys didn’t lose a game the reason of the season. Led by Griffin Bone at the plate, Kanab ended the regular season on a six-game winning streak and continued the momentum into the playoffs winning all five games to claim its first state championship since 2009.

Bone finished the season with a .500 batting average, seven doubles and 29 RBIs. He recorded 20 of those RBIs during Kanab’s 11-game winning streak to end the season.

“Griffen Bone was important to our team because he could do anything that was asked of him. He could play shortstop for us, first base and also pitch a complete game when he was on the mound,” said Kanab coach Craig Brinkerhoff. “His calm demeanor on the field was seen by his teammates and was felt throughout the team during this season.”

In the final two wins over top seed South Sevier at BYU, he went 3 for 6 with five RBIs.

He was a big asset on the mound as well as he pitched 5923 innings with 97 strikeouts a 1.53 ERA and an 8-2 record.

“Griffen has great command on the mound as well as a great hitting approach. Griffen was always a tough out and always put the pressure on the defense and opposing pitchers,” said Brinkerhoff.