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Utah second baseman Oliver Dunn and two other Cottonwood High products are taken in the MLB Draft

(Photo courtesy of Steve C. Wilson/ University of Utah). Utah infielder Oliver Dunn swings vs. UCLA in 2018.

When his Utah baseball team’s season ended in May, coach Bill Kinneberg commended the college career of junior second baseman Oliver Dunn, expecting him to turn pro after the Major League Baseball draft.

Kinneberg also spoke excitedly that day about his eight incoming freshmen, but now he must await the MLB decisions of five of them – including two Utah high school products, Cottonwood pitcher Porter Hodge and Dixie shortstop Kayler Yates. Three of those five selections came late in the draft, though, logically reducing the chances of the players forgoing college baseball.

Dunn, an All-Pac-12 player and third-team All-American from Cottonwood, went to the New York Yankees in the 11th round Wednesday as the three-day, 40-round event concluded. Players taken after the 10th round are eligible for a signing bonus of up to $125,000.

Dunn was picked in his projected range, after batting .366 as a junior and leading the Utes in multiple offensive categories. Speaking after the Utes' final game, Dunn sounded relatively certain of launching his pro baseball career if his draft outcome was favorable, and Kinneberg said, “We're going to miss him.”

Hodge, whose pitching helped Cottonwood win two state championships in three seasons, went to the Chicago Cubs in the 13th round. Others who signed with the Utes in November and were drafted Wednesday included Randon Hostert, a pitcher from Idaho Falls, Idaho (Texas, 15th round); Yates (Los Angeles Dodgers, 31st round); TJ Clarkson, a first baseman from Gilbert, Ariz. (Cleveland, 33rd round); and Brock Rudy, a catcher from Walnut Creek, Calif. (Houston, 39th round).

Players with ties to the state picked Wednesday also included Paxton Schultz, a pitcher from Orem High and Utah Valley University (Milwaukee, 14th round); Dakota Donovan, a pitcher from Pine View High and Central Arizona College (Los Angeles Angels, 16th round); Jayden Murray, a pitcher from Uintah High and Dixie State University (Tampa Bay, 23rd round); Wil Jensen, a pitcher from Cottonwood and Pepperdine (Oakland, 28th round); and Cy Nielson, a pitcher from Spanish Fork High (Cleveland, 40th round).

Schultz and Murray each broke their schools’ season record for strikeouts in 2019, with roughly one per inning. Schultz, a junior, is the highest-drafted player in UVU’s Division I era and Murray went 10-3 with a 3.78 ERA as a DSU senior.

Nielson is among three BYU signees who were drafted, joining Cutter Clawson, a pitcher from Laguna Beach, Calif. (Washington, 33rd round) and Tyson Heaton, a pitcher from Yucaipa, Calif. (Los Angeles Angels, 40th round).

Cougar shortstop Jackson Cluff was drafted by Washington in the sixth round Tuesday.

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