TEN PLAYERS TO WATCH
Tori Dufour, Sr., Frederick — Dufour's contact rate and speed should be able to help manufacture precious runs with the Warriors perhaps not as power-packed through the lineup this year.
Hannah Farley, Jr., Legacy — Developing even more control could pay off huge for Farley after a season in which she whiffed 114 batters and tallied 15 wins.
Faith Hale, Jr., Mead — Relying on Hale won't be a leap of faith, as she went from two extra-base hits in 55 plate appearance as a freshman, to 11 extra base hits in 77 PA's as a sophomore.
Anna Martinez, Jr., Holy Family — Had a breakout sophomore season in the field and at the plate, and she'll look to use her speed even more this year.
Angeline Mitchell, Jr., Longmont — Mitchell took the circle against some tough teams last year, and the Trojans can only hope that helps her confidence as she transitions to ace status this year.
Hadlee Reichert, So., Broomfield — Led a group of talented BHS freshmen last year with a .423 clip, but led the entire team with 33 hits.
Kat Sackett, Jr., Erie — Sackett has 68 hits and 58 RBI in just two years. As th Tigers mold their lineup, it will be built around her.
Riley Todacheene, Sr., Fairview — She's got 200 plate appearances under her belt, and as Fairview looks to get better she'll likely be at the heart of the order.
Brooke Wager, Sr., Silver Creek — Her .415 average somehow was sixth on the Raptors in 2017, but a similar 2018 should help SCHS immensely.
Reagan Wills, Jr., Niwot — She hit .508 last year, but her biggest contributions may fall on the defensive side of the field at shortstop and catcher.
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 13 at various sites. The state tournament for all three classes are October 19-20 at Aurora Sports Park.
Coach: Courtney Geib (2nd year).
2017 finish: 3-16 overall; 0-12 Class 5A Front Range League.
Returning starters (Name, position, year): Isabella Caccia (Sr., OF); Maya Hamilton (So., SS); Ava Johnson (Jr., 2B); Fabiola Longoria (Jr., UTIL); Jenny Rocha (Jr., OF); Mae Terr (Sr., 1B).
Others to watch: Irë Levitt (Fr., UTIL); Stella Vito (Fr., UTIL).
Outlook: Boulder moves back down to 4A and into a 4A/3A Colorado 7 League that they should find themselves much more competitive in. Geib liked what she saw overall in terms of attitude and approach last year, but at the same time acknowledges the journey is long. New players will be asked to contribute immediately, but there are expectations of a more diversified attack at the plate.
Coach: Paula Seifried (12th year).
2017 finish: 13-8 overall: 9-3 Front Range League.
Returning starters (Name, position, year): Linnea Baldner (So., OF); Jenna Eatmon (Sr., 1B/3B); Bryna Kapelke (So., OF); Lauren Klein (Sr., P); Olivia Kloster (Sr., C); Hadlee Reichert (So., SS).
Others to watch: Chloe Eiguen (So., C/2B); Kailey Morales (So., C/2B); Sydnee Reichert (Jr., OF).
Outlook: The Eagles lost in regionals last year, dampening a season in which they performed quite well in all facets of the game (BHS allowed just 84 runs in 21 games). Seifried said she knows the FRL will challenge them to be at their best, and that includes her ace from last year, Klein. Four of last year's top six hitters return, led by Eatmon who cranked out a .460 average.
Coach: Jason Crispin (2nd year).
2017 finish: 4-15 overall; 2-12 Class 4A Northern League.
Returning starters (Name, position, year): Jess Baherens (Jr., P/INF); Emma Caile (So., INF); Tomi Kay Borrego (Sr., INF); Katherine MacDonald (Sr., OF); Kerry Malone (Sr., INF); Sydney Reed (So., UTIL); Rachel Ringham (Sr., C).
Others to watch: Ellie Jahn (So., UTIL); Paige Morton (Fr., INF); Bri Williams (Fr., INF); Lily Wright (Fr., UTIL).
Outlook: Crispin has a hard-working bunch in the dugout, and the Warriors are hoping to be able to make more of an impact in the league standings by giving more teams a run for their money. One of the big things for CHS is finding a pitcher that will give the defense a chance to work — Centaurus hurlers walked 106 batters last year and that bit them more often than not.
Coach: Harold Simmons (4th year).
2017 finish: 17-6 overall; 12-2 Class 4A Tri-Valley League.
Returning starters (Name, position, year): Maddie Leach (Sr., P/DH); Megan Loveland (Jr., P); Sloane Quijas (Sr., 2B/SS); Kat Sackett (Jr., C/1B); Mady Vaughan (Jr., UTIL/C).
Others to watch: Kaylee Armstrong (Jr., OF/1B/3B); Alyssa Barnett (Jr., P); Teagan Brand (Sr., CF); Kambry Fraser (So., 1B/3B); Natalie Maggert (So., 2B/SS).
Outlook: The Tigers narrowly won their third straight Tri-Valley League title in 2017, and it will be up to a pretty solid group of returners to possibly make it four. Simmons employed six different pitchers last year, and all six return including the top-notch duo of Loveland and Leach. Sackett, a middle-of-the-lineup stalwart, is already climbing the EHS career charts with 68 hits in 172 career plate appearances.
Coach: Miranda Christie (1st year).
2017 finish: 6-12 overall; 2-10 Front Range League.
Returning starters (Name, position, year): Zoe Callicoatt (Sr., SS/3B); Gabby Cook (Sr., C); Mackenzie Goldstein (Jr., P); Riley Todacheene (Sr., CF/SS).
Others to watch: Sammie Lane (Jr., UTIL); Kate Liston (So., 2B/SS); Teagan Talbot McQueen (So., 3B/UTIL); Jaidyn Studebaker (Fr., P/1B); Sara Victor (So., OF).
Outlook: Christie becomes the Knights' fourth coach in five years, but there is some familiarity as she was an assistant with the team last year. Through their early gatherings, she has honed in on building the team through togetherness, which she hopes will translate to a fun environment. Lane's emergence in a starting role could be huge for the team, while Todacheene looks to cap a nice career with a winning season.
Coach: Roger Dufour (24th year).
2017 finish: 15-7 overall; 10-4 Tri-Valley League.
Returning starters (Name, position, year): Tori Dufour (Sr., OF); Peyton Gale (So., SS/P).
Others to watch: Kaitlyn Howell (Sr., OF); Payton Putalluz (Sr., 1B).
Outlook: There's consistency in the program, no doubt, but the Warriors are perhaps in a state of flux this year more than ever after losing nine seniors. Their participation in the Metro State and Erie tournaments will provide the usual challenges Dufour likes to offer his players, and there's hope a pitcher or two dazzles early.
Holy Family Tigers
Coach: Mitch Martinez (6th year).
2017 finish: 15-6 overall; 11-3 Tri-Valley League.
Returning starters (Name, position, year): Erin Caviness (Sr., P); Carly Eldredge (So., 3B); Noelle Gardon (Jr., SS); Kaitlyn McKenzie (Sr., RF); Anna Martinez (Jr., CF); Sara Rode (Sr., 2B); Tyler Whitlock (So., LF); Erin Winters (Sr., 1B).
Others to watch: None specified.
Outlook: Mum's the word with Martinez on any potential newcomers who may help this Tigers team, but on paper it appears HFHS is loaded and could reap the benefits of having a talented-and-younger 2017 team. Caviness is a wrecking ball, and the Tigers have their entire lineup intact. There may be some added motivation in having to go to play at Erie in regionals last year and losing three games to get shut out of state.
Coach: Dawn Gaffin (18th year).
2017 finish: 20-4 overall; 10-2 Front Range League.
Returning starters (Name, position, year): Alyssa Archuleta (Jr., INF); Samantha Conradie (Jr., INF); Hannah Farley (Jr., P); Morgan Hernandez-Belew (Sr., INF); Izzy Kelly (Sr., P); Riley Olson (Jr., OF); Kiara Pfeifer (Sr., OF); Morgan Reeves (Jr., OF); Lauren Strathearn (Sr., OF).
Others to watch: Kaitlin Strachan (Jr., INF).
Outlook: Coming off yet another 20-win season, the Lightning are in good position to make a run at the Front Range League title in part because they only graduated three in 2017. There's no question they'll still hit for power and put pressure on teams on the base paths. In Kelly and Farley, there's consistency in the circle that you just don't find on a lot of teams.
Coach: Kelsey Walters (4th year).
2017 finish: 11-10 overall; 8-6 Northern League.
Returning starters (Name, position, year): Katie Alaniz (Jr., 1B); Ayahna Bustamante (Jr., SS); Ashley Dillow (Sr., 2B); Angeline Mitchell (Jr., P/UTIL); Grace Morrow (Sr., C); Alexa Nielsen (Jr., C/3B); Katrina Sabol (Sr., OF); Sherena Simmons (Sr., OF).
Others to watch: Kayla-Marie Gumeson (So., OF/UTIL).
Outlook: Walters' Trojans continue to be competitive in the Northern League and the goal is to take that next step this year with the kind of experience they have around the diamond. Four of the team's top six hitters from last year return (Sabol, Morrow, Mitchell, Bustamante), and Mitchell should see an increase in innings pitched after going 4-4 last year.
Coach: Sean Lynch (2nd year).
2017 finish: 6-14 overall; 2-12 Class 3A District 3.
Returning starters (Name, position, year): Shantel Koester (So., UTIL); Hannah Paton (Jr., UTIL); Hannah Schweiger (So., UTIL).
Others to watch: Gylian Hay (Fr., UTIL); Brenna McCall (Sr., UTIL); Alexa Sands (Fr., UTIL).
Outlook: The Lions will be younger this year, but at the same time are carrying a pretty talented group of new players that have experience. Lynch said he hopes great things for McCall's return off an injury, which could take some pressure off sluggers Koester and Schweiger, who each hit .404 last year.
Coach: Amanda Macaluso (5th year).
2017 finish: 10-11 overall; 5-9 Tri-Valley League.
Returning starters (Name, position, year): Tayler Brown (So., 2B/LF); Izzy Cox (Jr., DH); Dani Garcia (Sr., LF); Faith Hale (Jr., 3B/SS); Erin Hannafin (Jr., SS/CF); Tawni Hansen (Jr., 1B/P).
Others to watch: Paige Edwards (So., P/DH); Veronica Elsis (So., C); Savanna Greibling (So., 3B/LF); Emily Sauvageau (Fr., 1B/OF); Delaney Wilson (So., 3B/1B).
Outlook: The Mavericks will again be fun to watch, but there is definitely a big void in the pitching circle with Anna Veltien's graduation last spring. Macaluso is hoping the mental strength of her current pitching staff as a whole will pay dividends in the tough Tri-Valley League. Hale will be looking to build on her resume after crushing 11 extra-base hits last year.
Coach: Elizabeth Wilson (2nd year).
2017 finish: 2-17 overall; 1-11 Front Range League.
Returning starters (Name, position, year): Taryn Eggas (Sr., OF); Kendall Laman (So., C/SS); Skylar Laman (Sr., OF); Ainslee Reese (Sr., 1B); Maddie Stilson (Jr., C/SS); Payton Thomas (Sr., P); Jamie Thompson (Sr., 3B); Kendall Weideman (Sr., 2B/P) .
Others to watch: Trish Leins (So., OF); Ashton Osswald (So., 2B).
Outlook: The Coyotes often couldn't get out of their own way last year, and the record showed it — however, said Wilson: "It has been apparent to me from the first day I met them that they love this sport. Building their confidence and mental strength is a major goal of mine." There is hope that the sophomores can provide some depth for the future and at the same time provide some run support for Thomas in the circle.
Coach: Bobby Matthews (8th year).
2017 finish: 6-13 overall; 5-9 Northern League.
Returning starters (Name, position, year): Calista Law (Jr., OF); Esme O'Rourke (Jr., UTIL); Savvy Rafkin (Sr., OF); Caitlyn Schriener (Sr., 1B); Nikki Sims (Jr., CF); Reagan Wills (Jr., SS/C).
Others to watch: Jasmine Aldama (Fr., INF); Hannah Basset (Fr., C/UTIL); Ashton Jones (Jr., OF); Aliyah McComas (So., P); Ayva McComas (Fr., C/UTIL).
Outlook: In Matthews' own words, the 2017 season was a humbling one, and there is a lot of focus this year on some of the small details that cost the team games. The Cougars should be able to cut down on errors with the returning group having logged a lot of innings last year, which should in turn make their offensive production all the more valuable. Sims, Wills and Rafkin each logged at least 30 hits last year.
Peak to Peak Pumas
Coach: Brandin Becher (5th year).
2017 finish: 7-12 overall; 3-2 Class 3A District 1.
Returning starters (Name, position, year):Alyssa Alvarez (So., OF); Julia Coates (Jr., C/1B); Georgia Dauzvardis (Sr., 3B/OF); Heather Holtgreive (Sr., P/INF); Kara Jensen (Jr., INF/OF); Jamie Rader (So., P/INF); Juliana Walther (Sr., INF/OF).
Others to watch: Marley Jacometti (So., C/2B/OF); Aria Nelson (Fr., OF/3B/SS); Paige Putthoff (Fr., P/2B/SS); Fiona Spitzley (So., 2B/3B/OF); Audrey Wilcox (Fr., P/SS/C).
Outlook: Becher really views this year as a big one for the program, a transition from being "a significant developmental team to a significantly more competitive team than we have been in the past." There is confidence in a deeper pitcher staff, but success will still hinge on not letting defensive errors compound into 6-run innings. Interestingly, the Metro League will be playing a lot of double-headers this year to accommodate the 23-game slate.
Silver Creek Raptors
Coach: Ryan Beavers (12th year).
2017 finish: 18-5-1 overall; 13-1 Northern League.
Returning starters (Name, position, year): Bailey Beavers (Sr., OF/3B); Makayla Garcia (Jr., 1B/OF); Kayla Harper (Sr., SS/OF); Lee-Ann Kuckuk (Sr., OF); Maddie Kuehl (So., P/OF/1B); Jetta Nannen (Sr., P/1B/3B); Lucy Scott (Sr., 3B/OF); Brooke Wager (Sr., C/2B).
Others to watch: None specified.
Outlook: Making the state tournament nine years in a row would put Silver Creek in rare company, for sure. To do that, the Raptors want to establish an identity quickly and mature as they encounter any rough stretches. There's no doubt, however, they will be shooting for the moon with a strong senior group.
Coach: Pam Arnold (1st year).
2017 finish: 3-16 overall; 0-14 Tri-Valley League.
Returning starters (Name, position, year): Katie Archer (Jr., SS); Yesika Gaytan (So., OF/2B); Kenzie Jenkins (UTIL); Ally Levin (Sr., 3B/1B/OF); Nancy Morales (Jr., OF); Raeleen Munoz (Sr., UTIL); Samantha Powell (So., C); Julie Sanders (Jr., P/1B); Julissa Simental (Sr., OF); Cecilia Vazquez (So., OF/INF).
Others to watch: Aspen Leonhardt (Jr., UTIL).
Outlook: Arnold has coached high school in the area for several years — including at Boulder in 2015-16 — and she comes to Skyline eager to work with a group of girls ready to learn the game quickly. "We intend to succeed by being hungry learners and hard workers in all facets of softball," she said.
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