PLAYERS TO WATCH
Faith Anderson, Sr., Fairview: Really came into her own last season and will be expected to drive in runs for the up-and-coming Knights.
Megan Foley, Sr., Legacy: A mainstay in the lineup since her freshman year, Foley's OBP vaulted to .600 in 2016.
Hannah Hackney, Sr., Erie: A dangerous combination of power and discipline at the plate, Hackney will be a leader in Erie's quest for 4A state.
Lainey Hughes, Sr., Broomfield: One of the more unsung heroes of Broomfield's run in 2016, Hughes hit .315 with 15 RBI.
Lauren Klein, Jr., Broomfield: The Eagles will be searching for the pitching consistency Taylor Gilmore provided, and Klein showed potential in her time last season.
Kelly McCarty, Sr., Boulder: McCarty will be a four-year starter for the Panthers and is looked to as a true gamer with an ability to strike batters out.
Brittie Massey, Sr., Frederick: The latest in a string of really good FHS players on the left side, Massey led the Warriors in runs and added 17 steals.
Taylor Nielsen, Sr., Silver Creek: Nielsen, a catcher and center fielder in past seasons, has toughness and knowledge that strengthens the Raptors as a whole.
Madysun Vaughan, So., Erie: Vaughan burst on the scene to hit .500 as a freshman at Niwot, and now will look to help the Tigers to a 4A title run.
Reagan Wills, So., Niwot: Another super sophomore in the area, Wills' plate work could be vital to the Cougars getting over the hump and into regionals.
RPI will be used to determine the playoff fields for the three softball classifications after the regular season is complete. The Class 3A bracket will consist of 24 teams while 32 teams make the 4A and 5A tournaments, and regional tournaments will take place on October 14 at various sites. The state tournament for all three classes are October 20-21 at Aurora Sports Park.
Coach: Courtney Geib (1st year).
2016 finish: 5-14 overall; 0-12 Class 5A Front Range League.
Returning starters (Name, position, year): Sydney Arthur (Sr., 3B/1B); Isabella Caccia (Jr., OF); Kelly McCarty (Sr., P/SS); Harmony Wright (Sr., 2B).
Others to watch: Maya Colombo Hamilton (Sr., P/SS); Jacey Dawson (So. C/OF); Fabiola Longoria (So., UTIL).
Outlook: The Panthers only scored seven runs in Front Range League play as they returned to 5A last year, so there really is nowhere to go but up as Geib takes over. McCarty has been a really good player for three years now and has a chance to finish her career strong, particularly in the circle coming off a 113-strikeout, 19-walk campaign. Geib said that consistency and a better general knowledge of the game are her primary talking points heading in.
Coach: Paula Seifried (11th year).
2016 finish: 22-3 overall; 12-0 Front Range League (Class 5A state runner-up).
Returning starters (Name, position, year): Lainey Hughes (Sr., OF); Cassidy Sutton (Sr., OF/2B).
Others to watch: MegAnne Anast (Sr., OF); Jenna Eatmon (Jr., 3B); Lauren Klein (Jr., P); Maddison Wagner (Sr., 1B);.
Outlook: The Eagles were two runs away from being 5A state champs for the first time, and if the recent CHSAANow.com rankings are any indication, a lot of coaches believe they have a contender coming back. Speed will factor into the game a little more than power this year, Seifried said, while Hughes will be by far the most seasoned returner. Sutton did have seven hits in 18 plate appearances last year. Klein showed great control in limited varsity play and will be the main pitcher this season.
Coach: Jason Crispin (1st year).
2016 finish: 3-16 overall; 2-12 Class 4A Northern League.
Returning starters (Name, position, year): Jessica Handwerker (Jr., INF); Kerry Malone (Jr., INF); Tomikay Borrego (Jr., INF); Amaya Cox (Sr., P).
Others to watch: Sheryl Chicksy (Sr., P/OF); Jessie Behrens (So., P/OF); Katherine MacDonald (Jr., UTIL); Regan Reynolds (Jr., UTIL); Rachel Ringham (Jr., C).
Outlook: Crispin is happy to be back in the fold having previously coached at CHS a few years back, but the team is getting a late start as he was just recently hired on. Still, it's a baby-steps kind of situation for a team coming off a 3-16 campaign, and he said the girls have the talent as a group. Ringham, Handwerker and Borrego were able to get on base a lot last year, and the team will look to score more consistently in games.
Coach: Harold Simmons (3rd year).
2016 finish: 24-1 overall; 14-0 Class 4A Tri-Valley League (Class 4A state runner-up).
Returning starters (Name, position, year): Elise Capra (Sr., C); Hannah Hackney (Sr., 1B/3B); Katie Huonder (Sr., OF); Kara Kovets (Sr., UTIL); Jade Phillips (Sr., OF); Kat Sackett (So., UTIL); Morgan Weber (Sr., 3B/SS); .
Others to watch: Kaylee Armstrong (So., UTIL); Alia Brand (Sr., OF); Teagan Brand (Jr., OF); Maddie Leach (Jr., P/1B); Sidney Parrish (Jr., INF); Sloane Quijas (Jr., 2B/P); Madysun Vaughan, (So., UTIL).
Outlook: Simmons guides a team that is heavy on experience and grit, and that starts with Hackney — the TVL's position player of the year in 2016. The biggest difference for Erie will be in the circle, as the junior combo of Leach and Quijas will try and fill the shoes of one Rio Sanchez. The Tigers are capable of big things, as indicated by their preseason No. 5 ranking on CHSAANow.com.
Coach: Sarah Kosorok (2nd year).
2016 finish: 8-11 overall; 3-9 Front Range League.
Returning starters (Name, position, year): Faith Anderson (Sr., 1B); Jenna Baro (Sr., UTIL); Zoe Callicoatt (Jr., 3B); Gabby Cook (Jr., C); Riley Todacheene (Jr., CF); Tea Valdez (Sr., SS); Annie Wilhelm (Sr., 2B).
Others to watch: None specified.
Outlook: Anderson put together one of the finest hitting seasons in Fairview annals last year (.617, three home runs) and she leads a group of well-rounded players looking to break into top half of the league. Kosorok will continue to utilize team speed to manufacture runs, while their experience in the field should pay dividends for whoever ends up logging the big innings in the circle.
Coach: Roger Dufour (23rd year).
2016 finish: 14-8 overall; 12-2 Tri-Valley League.
Returning starters (Name, position, year): Aspen Dufour (Sr., OF); Makenna Goodard (Sr., P); Lorrena Hernandez (Sr., C); Maddie McCullough (Sr., P); Brittlyn Massey (Sr., SS); Katelyn Reagin (Sr., P); Jessy Teller (Sr., 2B).
Others to watch: Tori Dufour (Jr., OF); Peyton Gale (Fr., 3B); Payton Garcia (Sr., OF); Kaitlyn Howell (Jr., OF); Madalyn Massey (Sr., OF).
Outlook: The Warriors start at No. 9 in the CHSAANow.com rankings, the main reason being they have a good team whose last season was boosted by some unexpected arms getting things done. McCullough, Reagin and Goodard will continue to rally around each other, and Brittlyn Massey is a do-it-all player every team needs. This squad will burn you on the base paths if you let it, too.
Holy Family Tigers
Coach: Mitch Martinez (4th year).
2016 finish: 11-10 overall; 8-6 Tri-Valley League.
Returning starters (Name, position, year): Haley Almeida (So., C/OF); Marrissa Avila (So., UTIL); Erin Caviness (Jr., P); Noelle Gardon (So., SS); Jalen Gonzales (Sr., P); Kaitlyn McKenzie (Jr., OF); Anna Martinez (So., OF); McKenna Papacek (Sr., UTIL); Sara Rode (Jr., 2B); Erin Winters (Jr., 1B).
Others to watch: None specified.
Outlook: Frederick and Erie kind of had the Tigers' number last year, but outside of that HFHS was extremely competitive. Caviness is a power pitcher who will limit runs, and Gonzales also had a no-hitter to her credit last year. The group will have some experienced sophomores that could blossom into just what the team needs to get to the top of the league and perhaps past regional play for the first time since 2013.
Coach: Dawn Gaffin (17th year).
2016 finish: 15-8 overall; 8-4 Front Range League.
Returning starters (Name, position, year): Sammie Conradie (C/UTIL); Trisha Cook (Sr., 1B); Hannah Farley (So., P); Megan Foley (Sr., CF); Morgan Hernandez-Belew (Jr., INF); Izzy Kelly (Jr., P); Ciarra Nelson (Sr., DH/3B); Lauren Strathearn (Sr., LF).
Others to watch: Alyssa Archuleta (So., INF); Peighton Miyasaki (So., UTIL); Riley Olson (So., OF); Kiara Pfeifer (Jr., UTIL).
Outlook: Getting back to state last year after missing two years in a row has the group recharged, and the 5A No. 5 Lightning have a bunch of pure hitters champing at the bit. Farley and Kelly were thrown into the fire last year as a freshman and sophomore, respectively, and there is confidence in their comfort level heading into this season.
Coach: Kelsey Walters (3rd year).
2016 finish: 11-9 overall; 8-6 Northern League.
Returning starters (Name, position, year): Katie Alaniz (So., 1B); Natalia Alaniz (Sr., 2B); Ayahna Bustamante (So., SS); Ashley Dillow (Jr., UTIL); Aislin Khleif (Sr., CF); Angeline Mitchell (So., UTIL); Jenna Moore (Sr., P); Katrina Sabol (Jr., LF).
Others to watch: Grace Morrow (Jr., C); Holly Nicholas (Sr., C).
Outlook: Walters has a team looking to build on a regional qualifying 2016 season and in her words "the experience has definitely left the team with hunger to persevere like never before." The Trojans will look to Moore again as the workhorse, with the hopes the pitching staff as a whole reduces the amount of walks allowed from last season. Walters added versatility and adaptability are two of the strongest themes of the team.
Coach: Sean Lynch (1st).
2016 finish: 2-17 overall; 0-14 Class 3A District 3.
Returning starters (Name, position, year): Kailee Bernardoni (Sr., 2B); Shaeli Herman (Sr., C/3B); Joni Liquori (Sr., OF); Raven Moe (Sr., INF); Hannah Paton (So., OF).
Others to watch: Shantel Koester (Fr., P/1B); Hannah Schweiger (Fr., C/3B).
Outlook: The Lions just could never get out of the deep end of the pool last year, but Lynch is confident they'll find their way a little bit more in 2017 noting that the team dynamic is much improved. Koester and Schweiger will be given chances to make an impact, and work has been put in to improve in all aspects of the game.
Coach: Amanda Macaluso (4th year).
2016 finish: 7-12 overall; 4-10 Tri-Valley League.
Returning starters (Name, position, year): Emma Drouhard (Sr., 2B); Faith Hale (So., UTIL); Erin Hannafin (So., OF); Marlee Hebda (Sr., C); Alanna Hernandez-Heard (Sr., OF); Jade Levine (Sr., 3B/OF); Anna Veltien (Sr., P); .
Others to watch: Taylor Brown (Fr., 2B); Page Edwards (Fr., P); Madi Nagy (Fr., P); Bailey Nun (Jr., P).
Outlook: Macaluso has kept MHS competitive in the TVL for three years now, and in her fourth the team is looking to make a step toward the top of the league with some consistent ball-in-play hitters and a pitcher in Veltien who won't walk many. She said the energy among the underclassmen is vibrant — that group includes Hale, who hit .444 with 14 RBI last year.
Coach: Beth Wilson (1st year).
2016 finish: 4-15 overall; 2-10 Front Range League.
Returning starters (Name, position, year): Skylar Laman (Jr., CF); Ainslee Reese (Jr., 1B); Maddie Stilson (So., C); Payton Thomas (Jr., P); .
Others to watch: Taryn Egaas (Jr., UTIL); Ellie Jahn (Fr., SS); Jamie Thompson (Jr., 3B); Kendall Weideman (Jr., UTIL).
Outlook: Wilson last coached in Kentucky before moving to Colorado for grad school, but she is elated to jump back into things and especially with the group of girls she has. For her, the opportunity to gel is the opportunity to win, and she has gained faith the Coyotes want to be better. Thomas batted .356 last year with 20 RBI, but MHS will have to build up around her offensively.
Coach: Bobby Matthews (7th year).
2016 finish: 9-10 overall; 7-7 Northern League.
Returning starters (Name, position, year): Jaila Johnson (Sr., UTIL); Aleris Law (Sr., OF); Calista Law (So., 2B/OF); Savvy Rafkin (Jr., OF); Caitlyn Schriener (Jr., OF); Nikki Sims (So., SS/2B); Reagan Wills (So., C/SS).
Others to watch: Esmee O'Rourke (So., 1B/P).
Outlook: Niwot had a trio of tough-hitting freshmen last year, and two of the three are back in Wills and Sims to help the Cougars try and gain a regional berth. Wills, in fact, only struck out twice in 66 plate appearances in 2016 — helping forge a .491 hitting clip. Matthews is confident that Johnson will have a great senior season, and the team will look to develop one or two quality pitchers early on.
Peak to Peak Pumas
Coach: Brandin Becher (4th year).
2016 finish: 4-15 overall; 2-3 Class 3A District 2.
Returning starters (Name, position, year): Morgan Brantmeyer (Sr., C/UTIL); Julia Coates (So., UTIL); Georgia Dauzvardis (Jr., OF); Claire Hankla (Sr., 1B/SS); Heather Holtgreive (Jr., P/UTIL); Emma Hyman (Jr., OF); Emma Jensen (Sr., OF); Kara Jensen (So., OF); Juliana Walther (Jr., UTIL/1B).
Others to watch: Alyssa Alvarez (Fr., 2B/OF); Jamie Rader (Fr., P/UTIL).
Outlook: Becher truly believes his team is ready to break out as they have really taken the past couple seasons to gain softball IQ — said Becher: "It is time for us to come into our own and do some things that we have not been able to do in recent years." There are little things to improve on everywhere, but the hitting lineup is a solid area of strength with four girls returning who hit better than .349.
Silver Creek Raptors
Coach: Ryan Beavers (11th year).
2016 finish: 19-5 overall; 12-2 Northern League.
Returning starters (Name, position, year): Bailey Beavers (Jr., OF/3B); Dana Dwyer (Sr., P/1B); Emma Flynn (Sr., UTIL); Makayla Garcia (So., 1B/OF); Kendra Green (Sr., P/OF); Kayla Harper (Jr., UTIL); Jetta Nannen (Jr., 1B/3B/P); Lucy Scott (Jr., OF/3B).
Others to watch: Maya Amidon (Jr., 2B/OF); Mallory Granger (Sr., OF); Lee Ann Kuckuk (Jr., OF); Taylor Nielsen (Sr., OF); Brooke Wager (Jr., C/2B).
Outlook: Silver Creek starts at No. 6 in the CHSAANow 4A rankings and are definitely packing a punch this season. The Raptors lost a couple of strong leaders but retain most of their offense — not to mention the addition of Nielsen from Longmont as a transfer. Beavers is a bit old school but he also really likes the analytical side of the game, and believe us when we say he'll use that to their advantage. State title aspirations are legit for this team.
Coach: Erin Hopkins-Boroviak (1st year).
2016 finish: 3-16 overall; 1-13 Tri-Valley League.
Returning starters (Name, position, year): None specified.
Others to watch: Hailey Johnson (Sr., SS); Mikayla Mein (OF/P); Realeen Munoz (3B); Julie Sanders (So., P); Yesenia Solomon (Sr., 2B); Emma Swaney (Jr., 1B).
Outlook: A jump back up into the 4A Tri-Valley League represented a considerable jump in competition last year, but Hopkins-Boroviak is excited for her team to mix it up this year and have fun together. Johnson is a solid player offensively and defensively and she'll be a driving force in the Falcons trying to establish a strong, positive base for the future.
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