10 PLAYERS TO WATCH
Tyler Carpenter, Sr., 1B, Fairview: Signed with Illinois State, Carpenter leads a senior-heavy Knights team looking to put everything together.
Seth Clemente, Sr., SS, Dawson School: One of 2A's leading hitters last year, Clemente should be a force as the Mustangs attempt to defend their state title.
Skyler Messinger, Sr., SS, Niwot: The future Kansas Jayhawk makes plays in the field and is a menace at the plate for the Cougars.
James Notary, Sr., P, Broomfield: Has gained steam as a pitching prospect and will shoulder significant load for Eagles in Front Range League race.
Ryan Overboe, Jr., OF, Legacy: Overboe led the Lightning offensively last year and should continue success at the plate this year.
Dagin Renck, Sr., P, Longmont: The Northern League has its fair share of live arms, and Renck ranks right near the top of that list.
Tyler Seebaum, Sr., P, Monarch: One of the Coyotes' go-to guys on the mound, Seebaum is expected to be tough to hit once again.
Sanjay Solomon, Jr., P, Boulder: The Panthers are filled with seniors, yet Solomon's mound work may be the key piece to Boulder's run in the league.
Terry Strauber, Sr., OF, Jefferson Academy: The Jaguars have a lot of talent, and Strauber should see personal gains under Gino Carbajal's guidance.
Cole Winn, Jr., P, Silver Creek: One of Colorado's most promising 2018's, Winn has already established himself s the Raptors' 2017 ace.
The regular season will end by April 29 for Class 1A and between May 6-9 for all other classifications. Teams will compete in district and regional tournaments until championships on May 19 (1A) and May 26-27 (Class 2A through 5A).
Coach: Carmen Rivas (First year).
Last year: 8-11 overall; 5-7 Class 5A Front Range League
Returning starters: Alex Arvizu (Sr., IF/P); Max Bajza (Sr., C); Aiden Chandler (Sr., IF/P); Derrick Cunningham (Sr., OF); Mason Hitz (Sr., IF/P); Jacob Katz (Sr., OF); Cameron Mainland (Sr., OF/P); Henry Ryan (Sr., IF/P); Sanjay Solomon (Jr., P); Dana Sullivan (Sr., OF).
Others to watch: Ben Davis (Sr., IF/P); Jackson Dinkel (Jr., IF/P).
Outlook: The Panthers have a new coach in Rivas who has been a staple in Boulder County for years, and Boulder has the appearance of a team ready to take the next step. Versatility is what Rivas really sees as an advantage, though the pitching staff is expected to show the consistency that is has lacked at times in the past. Overall, the senior group is hungry to end their careers on a high note.
Coach: Garren Estes (14th year)
Last year: 13-6-1 overall; 11-1 Front Range League
Returning starters: Josh Cox (Sr., OF); Tanner Garner (Jr., IF); James Notary (Sr., IF/P); Ben Peterson (IF/P); Mason Spiers (Sr., C); Matt Turner (Sr., IF).
Others to watch: Mitch Morales (So., OF/P); Blake Rohm (Sr., OF/P).
Outlook: After winning the Front Range League last year, the Eagles have an ace in Notary that can vault them to the top once again. Thing is, Rohm is also in the mix after Tommy John surgery which will boost BHS' overall staff. Cox was a first-team BoCoPreps.com all-region selection, and Spiers will be expected to keep swinging a heavy bat.
Coach: Doug Kinney (First year)
Last year: 6-14 overall; 4-10 Class 4A Northern League
Returning starters: Jeff Debouvier (Sr., IF/OF); Lucas Disabato (Sr., 2B/C/P); Trevor Erickson (So., OF/P); Eric Gambon (Sr., 1B); Balin Jessup (Sr., SS/P); Mitch Koch (Sr., P); Anthony Losasso (Sr., 3B/P); Joe Milano (Sr., C/P); Nick Titus (Sr., P); .
Others to watch: Mac Post (Jr., OF); Greory Smith (Jr., IF/OF).
Outlook: Kinney takes over a Warriors program that took strides last year by making the playoffs and returns a hefty crew from that team — in fact, the 2016 team had just two seniors. Gambon hit .393 last year and Jessup leads the crew in terms of pitching innings. The Warriors field is spacious and that makes it tough to keep ERA's down, but the pitchers will look to help themselves out by reducing walks. Overall, the season has potential, most definitely.
DAWSON SCHOOL MUSTANGS
Coach: Joe McKenzie (Fourth year)
Last year: 18-4 overall; 6-1 Class 2A District 4
Returning starters: Seth Clemente (Sr., SS); Chase Fulkerson (Jr., P/3B); Tucker Heroux (So., P/OF); Cade McClellan (Sr., OF).
Others to watch: Simon Dodge (So., C); Donovan Muniz (So., P/IF).
Outlook: McKenzie is expecting a group of young players to grow into their own fresh off a 2A state championship, with Clemente (.597 BA last year) and McClellan (.400 BA) leading the small group of returners from that squad. The one thing the Mustangs need to see develop quickly is pitching — they have a grand total of three varsity pitching innings coming back.
Coach: Harold Simmons (Ninth year)
Last year: 16-9 overall; 10-4 Class 4A Tri-Valley League
Returning starters: Ryley Deckert (Sr., OF); Zach Elliston (Sr., 2B/OF); Sage Lutgens (Sr., P); Hunter Nelson (Sr., 1B); Ruben Portillo (Sr., P/SS); Gavin Sackett (Sr., P).
Others to watch: Garrett Mayers (Sr., OF/P); Eli Schrader (Sr., P).
Outlook: Erie is yet another BoCo team with an abundance of seniors, more than enough to fill the entire lineup with them. Portillo leads the way coming off a great 2016 season (and a stellar year in football), while the Tigers once again can be counted on to have discipline and minimize mistakes. Simmons thinks this group is just as capable of a deep playoff run as the past two Erie teams.
Coach: David Castillo (Second year)
Last year: 8-11 overall; 5-7 Front Range League
Returning starters: Tyler Carpenter (Sr., P/1B); Matt Erickson (Sr., P/1B); Josh Haensly (Sr., U); Teddy Lewitt (Sr., P/OF); Sam McGill (Sr., C/IF); Will Mossa (Sr., P/IF); Cliffy Smith (Sr., U); Stone Streeter (Sr., IF); Jake Willemsen (Sr., OF).
Others to watch: Cole Carrigan (Jr., IF); Skyler Limber (Sr., P); Cole Liston (Sr., P); SJ Mousseaux (Sr., P); Ben Nielsen (Sr., P); Hunter Owens (Jr., DH); Henry Rock (So., OF/P).
Outlook: There was definitely a sense of disappointment last year with a record below .500, but the fact of the matter is a bunch of juniors and sophomores got the chance to play big innings. Many of the FHS seniors will be playing in college, but the here and now is a league title and making an impact in 5A as has become the standard for the Knights. Erickson should be one of the FRL's best arms.
Coach: Blaine Shirley (Second year)
Last year: 3-16 overall; 3-11 Tri-Valley League
Returning starters: Avery Elkins (Sr., 2B/P); Jake Frenzel (Sr., CF); Bryce Shirley (Sr., SS).
Others to watch: Trevor Hazlett (So., OF); Brandon Hornby (Fr., OF); Wesley Powers (So., C).
Outlook: The Warriors enter the season young with just the three seniors and one junior, but Shirley hopes to grow some chemistry for the future and get some pitchers quality innings this year. Elkins will be the top starter after being a middle-to-late innings solution last year, and Shirley is banking on the team to hit better (.253 team BA in 2016). If they can win a few more one- and two-run contests, they'll be much improved.
HOLY FAMILY TIGERS
Coach: Marc Cowell (First year)
Last year: 6-13 overall; 3-11 Tri-Valley League
Returning starters: Will Brassil (Jr., P/OF); Zach Becker (So., SS/P); Colton Clingman (Sr., 1B/P); Jonathsn Coufal (Sr., DH); Phil Elliott (Sr., 2B/P); Cameron Miller (Sr., OF); Wade Rode (Sr., C/3B); Weston Seifken (So., C/3B/P) .
Others to watch: Jordan Closen (Jr., 3B); Phil Neill (OF/P).
Outlook: Cowell is back at the helm after taking a break from 2014-2016, and he is intrigued by the talent the Tigers possess. Brassil is looked to as the staff ace and HFHS boasts a couple of lefties that will mix it up. At the plate, sophomore Zach Becker should sustain a healthy batting average and Cowell is hoping to see a little more pop from everyone.
JEFFERSON ACADEMY JAGUARS
Coach: Gino Carbajal (First year)
Last year: 7-12 overall; 3-9 Class 3A Metro League
Returning starters: Grant Anderson (So., P/SS); Casey Lindholm (Sr., C/P/IF); Daniel Moriarity (Sr., P/OF); Damien Nelson (Jr., OF/1B); Terry Strauber (Sr., P/OF); Jacob Van Dyk (Jr., P/OF).
Others to watch: Caleb Lumbard (Jr., 3B); Ryan Ponzio (So., OF/SS/P).
Outlook: Carbajal brings a tremendous resume to JA, including winning a state title with Faith Christian in 2007 and collegiate success at Regis. He said he is pretty optimistic about the Jags' pitching staff, while Strauber is coming off a season where he hit .469 with three home runs. Lindholm is a versatile kid who also hit .400 last year.
Coach: Ty Giordano (8th year)
Last year: 15-5 overall; 9-3 Front Range League
Returning starters: John Coogan (Sr., LF); Colby Deaville (Sr., SS); Grant Hall (Sr., 3B); Bradon O'Connor (Sr., CF); Ryan Overboe (Jr., 1B); Ross Smith (Jr., RF).
Others to watch: Ty McAninch (Sr., P/OF); Josh Chamberlain (Sr., P); DJ Daugherty (Sr., 2B); Joe Jaramillo (Sr., P); Josh Kelnhofer (Jr., 3B); Justin Mischke (Jr., P).
Outlook: The Lightning are yet another Front Range League club bolstered with seniors coming off a good junior year, and Giordano said this may be the most comfortable he's been with his depth — creating an environment that punishes complacency. Individually, Overboe is coming off a huge sophomore season as a contributor on the mound and at the plate, and Chamberlain is the type of kid that will not get rattled easy. Giordano said he expects O'Connor to lock down center field and take advantage of being placed at the very top or very bottom of the order.
Coach: Tom Fobes (18th year)
Last year: 15-8 overall; 9-5 Northern League
Returning starters: Noah Befus (Jr., OF/P); Hayden Carson (Jr., 1B); Austin Hassler (Jr., P/C); Dagin Renck (Sr., P/OF); Matt Zamudio (Jr., 3B/2B).
Others to watch: Michael Cox (Jr., OF); Kascen Deeter (So., 2B/SS/P); Chris Gumeson (So., C); Avery Peterson (Sr., 3B/C/P); Brady Renck (So., 2B/SS/P); Alec Thompson (Jr., OF); Zach Trosper (Jr., OF).
Outlook: The Trojans are a staple at the top of the Northern League and look to be competitive with a solid returning group, despite some kids moving to different positions. Hassler is recovering from a fractured wrist but should be back for the stretch run, while the team gets Peterson back after he missed all last year. The Renck brothers each bring baseball smarts to the diamond.
LONGMONT CHRISTIAN WARRIORS
Coach: Carl Christensen (Second year)
Last year: Did not field a varsity squad last year.
Returning starters: Jalen Dittman (Sr., P/3B); Christian Hudgins (So., 2B/OF).
Others to watch: Rylee Duggan (Fr., C); Tim Eldred (So., P/OF); Nick Holtz (Fr., P/1B); Lee Saunders (Fr., P/SS); Ryan Shellenberger (Fr., SS/2B); Jimmy Shields (So., SS/2B).
Outlook: The Warriors are fielding a varsity team for the first time in a few years, and Christensen is looking at the team as a speedy one who will score runs if they can prove to hit the baseball like he thinks they can. Duggan will play an important role as the backstop to a growing pitching staff and there are hopes the freshmen group can contribute steadily as the season progresses.
Coach: Ken Rosales (Fifth year)
Last year: 6-12 overall; 0-6 Class 2A District 4
Returning starters: Keegan Bean (Jr.,); Drew Cross (Jr.); Dawson Kelly (Sr.,); Justin Lear (Jr.); Evan Reeves (Jr.); Brandon Sanders (Jr.); .
Others to watch: David Brett (So.); Austin Clark (Jr.); Sam Glasgow (So.); Leif Klopson (Jr.).
Outlook: Rosales is eager to see this group of returning players improve daily and compete when it comes to league and districts. Lear returns as the team's top hitter from a year ago (.377 BA, 10 RBI), but the rest of the Lions will need to be more patient at the plate to get some runs home.
Coach: Randy Click (First year)
Last year: 9-10 overall; 7-7 Tri-Valley League
Returning starters: Derek Edwards (Jr., IF); Riley Glynn (Sr., P/OF/1B); Lucas Hale (Jr., P/SS); Matt Regan (Sr., SS); Jake Skrine (Sr., C/OF); Michael Ward (Sr., OF).
Others to watch: Hayden Klibbe (C/OF); Tommy Laird (3B/1B); Ryan McDaniel (OF); Mateo Montelongo (2B); Greyson Young (OF); Connor Zsidisin (OF/C).
Outlook: Click becomes the Mavericks third coach in the past three years, but he has seen some good competition for starting jobs so far and he feels the pitching depth is pretty good overall. Edwards, Ward, Skrine and Regan all had respectable batting averages last year, and Hale comes back as the team's seasoned arm. The team will look to get better defensively after committing 42 errors in 19 games in 2016.
Coach: Scott Weiss (Sixth year)
Last year: 14-7 overall; 10-2 Front Range League
Returning starters: Ben Coatney (Jr., SS/OF); Connor Flynn (Sr., LF/P); Roy Grigsby (Sr., P); Matt Hoban (Sr., P); Gus Light (Sr., SS/DH); Sawyer Lofstedt (Sr., CF); Jess Rodriguez (Sr., SS/2B); Tyler Seebaum (Sr., 2B/P); Mitch Trenka (Sr., 1B/P).
Others to watch: Ben Cole (Jr., 1B/DH); Connor Crouch (Jr., RF); Andrew Morris (Jr., P); Luke Secunda (Jr., CF).
Outlook: It appears a good thing the Coyotes have a pretty deep program because there have already been some injuries to players Weiss figured would be key components. That includes Lofstedt (torn meniscus, out for season) and Light (will not play field in 2017). Monarch's pitching staff is deep, perhaps Weiss' best while at MHS, and they will help usher along victories while the team figures out consistency at the plate. Flynn hit .386 last year and is the team's proven batter.
Coach: Craig McBride (Eighth year)
Last year: 8-13 overall; 5-9 Northern League
Returning starters: Joey DesEnfants (So., C/IF); Trevor Green (Sr., P/OF); Skyler Messinger (Sr., SS/P); Griffin Mitchell (Sr., P/OF); Joey Neve (Sr., 1B/OF); Jacob Sims (Sr., OF); Hunter Stephens (Sr., P/OF).
Others to watch: Aidon Galloway (OF); Colton Goldfarb (Jr., C); Ben Goss (Jr., P/IF); Caleb Martinez (Jr., P); Quinn Williamson (Jr., P).
Outlook: You can't look at the Cougars without mentioning Messinger, who has proven to be one of Colorado's finest shortstops both offensively and defensively. Stephens and Sims also bring experience and the Cougars are typically pretty sound defensively. The Cougars will have new faces in their starting pitching roles but McBride is confident his kids will be up to the task.
PEAK TO PEAK PUMAS
Coach: Derek Urban (Third year)
Last year: 14-7 overall; 10-2 Metro League
Returning starters: Matthew Bagnato (Jr., SS); Alex Bradfield (Sr., CF); Zach Feigelson (Sr., LF/P); Max Higdon (So., P); Nathan Poretz (So., C); Tommy Shriver (Sr., RF/P); Brayden Wayer (Sr., 1B/P).
Others to watch: Anthony Colgate (Sr., OF); Niko DiNero (Jr., 3B/P); Mitchel Kerr (Sr., 1B/C); Finn Larson (So., 2B); Isaac VanTol (Jr., 2B/P); Baylor Weyer (Jr., 3B/P).
Outlook: The Pumas have their foot on the gas pedal as they approach the starting line to the season. Having lost just one senior from last year's team, Urban is excited about the potential of a push toward the Metro League title and going beyond districts, and it starts with having a load of kids that can pitch effectively and a defense that will be improved. They aren't going to knock the cover off, but sophomores Poretz and Higdon come back as two of the top four hitters based on average.
PROSPECT RIDGE MINERS
Coach: Jordan Nathanson (First year)
Last year: First year competing in CHSAA Class 3A Metro League
Players to watch: Nic Carder (Jr., IF/C/P); Caleb Conner (So., SS/P); Micha Honea (Jr., OF); Brandon Huffman (So., IF/P); Jake Thiret (So., P/C/1B); Tyler Walls (Jr., IF/P).
Outlook: The Miners get going in the tough Metro League with an opportunity to surprise some folks, and they'll rely on what they have done in the past together to breed some early chemistry. A big key will be how the team handles any setbacks and not letting things snowball. Nathanson said he is proud of the dedication shown by everyone in the program and that the future looks bright because of that.
SILVER CREEK RAPTORS
Coach: Mike Apodaca (Third year)
Last year: 14-6 overall; 9-5 Northern League
Returning starters: Max Browne (Sr., OF); Sam Elting (Sr., OF); Nick Gambirasi (Sr., 2B/P); Dylan Kramer (Sr., 1B/P); Dylan Ordway (Sr., P); George "Junior" Ramirez (Sr., OF); Cole Winn (Jr., 1B/P).
Others to watch: Jack Carlough (Jr., P); Rex Olinger (So., C); Spencer Rich (So., SS); Christopher Smedley (Jr., 3B); Andrew VanDyke (Sr. P).
Outlook: Take it for what it's worth, but the Raptors bring back a strong group of players that made a run at the American Legion 'A' league championship and will surely feed off that success. Ramirez is a smooth centerfielder that will also be key at the plate, and Browne can drive in runs. Meanwhile the combination of Winn and Ordway will be one of the league's top duos, giving Silver Creek another shot at a Northern title. Of course, they want more than that.
Coach: Travis Schlagel (Second year)
Last year: 8-11 overall; 6-8 Tri-Valley League
Returning starters: Brayden Blick (Jr., U); Jonah Chrisman (Sr., P/OF); Nick Hamby (Jr., IF); Nate Higgins (Sr., P/OF); Avery Riddoch (Sr., IF); Alex Schernecke (Sr., U); Caleb Zietlow (Sr., C/SS/P).
Others to watch: James Canar (Jr., 2B/OF); Clayton Eldred (Sr., OF); Nate McGregor (So., P); Ben Piggott (Jr., P); Brett Shannon (Sr., OF).
Outlook: The Falcons have some pretty good experience coming back, which could make all the difference in the world when it comes to sealing a more solid league record. Zietlow, Riddoch and Schernecke give SHS a core of hitters to build around, while Higgins will be the ace of the staff looking for better run support.
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