Tribune Baseball Player of the Year: Dylan Cozens - East Valley Tribune: VarsityXtra

Tribune Baseball Player of the Year: Dylan Cozens

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Posted: Wednesday, June 13, 2012 6:46 am | Updated: 11:53 pm, Sat Jul 14, 2012.

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 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 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.

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