Regular season ends May 5. State playoffs begin May 12. State finals are on May 25-26, with the exception of Class 2A (May 18-19).
Ten to watch
Rocky DeSantis, senior, Fairview, first base: The burly middle-of-the-lineup hitter can rake, and he’ll be doing it initially at Garden City (Kan.), rather than taking up New Mexico State on its offer to walk on.
Alex Kinnison, sophomore, Niwot, first base: Still with a lot to prove, but quietly had an amazing season for a freshman last year. He hit .339, second-best on the Cougars.
Reilly Mau, senior, Longmont, first base: Perhaps known principally as a basketball player, baseball is Mau’s No. 1 sport. A gap hitter with occasional power, Mau figures to have a loud season, even with the new bats.
Parker Oliver, senior, Broomfield, outfield: Deftly quick, this multisport athlete boasted a .500 OBP last season and will now have a more prominent role in the order.
Jake Olsen, senior, Fairview, shortstop: A Division I talent who will play at Black Hawk (Ill.) College so he can play immediately rather than walk on at Iowa.
Ty Overboe, senior, Legacy, catcher: The Lightning backstop made the most of hits last season. His 22 produced a whopping 24 runs, and nine of the hits were for extra bases.
Dylan Platt, senior, Boulder, center field: The leadoff hitter is the Panthers’ catalyst and boasts a great glove in addition to an otherworldly on-base percentage.
Dillon Reider, junior, Erie, outfield: Led the Tigers in runs scored, stolen bases, walks and on-base percentage last season.
Greg Reynolds, senior, Silver Creek, pitcher: Seems as if this Reynolds has already been more successful than the eponymous Colorado Rockies ill-fated first-round draft pick.
Joe Walls, senior, Holy Family, infield: He will qualify as a graybeard with as young as the Tigers are, but his leadership will key for a squad who doesn’t want to take a year off as a 3A powerhouse.
Coach: Mike Green (second year)
Last year: 4-9
Returning starters: AJ Lambert (Sr., P/OF), Brian Litchfield (Sr., P/SS), Davis Tailer (Sr., 2B), Greg Sawers (Sr., C), Ryan Smith (Jr., SS/P), Graham Gansar (So., 3B/P); Matt Payne (Jr. OF).
Others to watch: Kai Malowany (Jr., C), Sage Thomas (Fr., OF), Jake Blank (Fr., 1B/P).
Outlook: With a bevy of returning starters, the Mustangs should enjoy more stable play this season. The program is growing, as evidenced by the Mustangs fielding a junior varsity team for the first time this season.
Coach: Steve Disbrow (sixth year)
Last year: 7-13 (lost to Grandview in 5A first round)
Returning starters: Dylan Platt (Sr., CF), Loic Guegan (Jr., OF), Nate Bukowski (Sr., OF), Luke Bukowski (So., C), Austin Blessing (Jr., P), Kevin Flores (Jr., P/OF)
Others to watch: Rueben Garcia (Jr., SS/P).
Outlook: Boulder was extremely young last season but nearly upset powerhouse Grandview in the first round last season. With experienced gleaned from the rigors of a 55-game summer schedule, the Panthers figure to be a more consistent product in 2012.
Coach: Garren Estes (ninth year)
Last year: 14-7 (lost to Thompson Valley in 4A second round)
Returning starters: Parker Oliver (Sr., OF), Jackson Lockwood (Sr., P/IF), Jordan Arnesdorf (Sr., IF), Dylan Rouco (Sr., IF), Brandon Bailey (Jr., P/IF), Ben Martinez (Jr., C).
Others to watch: Angelo Perez (Jr., IF).
Outlook: The Eagles always compete in the Northern League and this season should be no different. Though the league contains many stalwarts the Eagles usually seem to find a way to nab a spot in the postseason.
Coach: Aaron Allen (first year)
Last year: 2-16
Returning starters: Trevor Schrader (Sr., CF), Justin Inslee (Sr., 2B).
Others to watch: Tanner Martinelli (Jr., OF), David Shald (Jr., 3B), Brody Jaskul (Jr., RF), Lance Matosky (Jr., P), Tristan Archuleta (So., SS), Adam DeVito (Jr., C), Taylor Criss (Sr., P), Brandon Kidney (Sr., P).
Outlook: Eager to rebuild, the Warriors will grow accustomed to their new staff and look to rekindle their winning ways. Of note, Kidney, a 6-foot-5 pitcher, is back after missing last season due to a concussion sustained in football.
Coach: Harold Simmons (fourth season)
Last year: 13-7 (lost to Montrose in 3A first round)
Returning starters: Taylor Dudley (Sr., OF), Dillon Reider (Jr., C/IF), JR. Ryan Fesmire (IF, C), Tyler Lee (Jr., CF), Zach Woodruff (So., OF/P), Coltin Brink (So., 2B/P).
Others to watch: Caleb Crites (So., 3B/P), Kyle Leahy (IF/P).
Outlook: The Tigers were delighted to make the playoffs last season, their first in 4A, but now must replace their top three pitchers. Erie must also find answers in the middle of the order and at catcher while hoping their youthful arms make an immediate impact.
Coach: Rick Harig (20th year)
Last year: 9-9
Returning starters: Rocky DeSantis (Sr., 1B), Jake Olsen (Sr., SS), Jordan Blair (Sr., C/1B), Clay Jeanette (Sr., OF/P), Cameron Frazier (So., IF/P).
Others to watch: Jack Madden (Sr., OF), Will Stoorman (Sr., P/OF), Anders Hill (So., Ut.), Caleb Killian (Sr., P).
Outlook: The Knights boast two Division-I level talents in DeSantis and Olsen and will look to improve on last year’s ho-hum season. Harig, who has been associated with the program for 25 seasons, will, as always, have his team ready to compete.
Coach: Ted Clapp (eighth year)
Last year: 7-12
Returning starters: Brady Dill (Sr., 2B/P), Nathan Harrison (Jr., 3B/C/P), Jaron Balman (Jr., C/P), Ryan Zuniga (Jr., 1B/P), Michael Broz (So., P/Ut.).
Others to watch: Darren McCullough (Sr., P), Shawn Briggs (Sr., P), Cody Baker (Jr., Ut.), Christian Martinez (Jr., CF), Mitchell Held (So., P).
Outlook: The Warriors are very optimistic this season, believing they have the defensive prowess and lineup depth to capture their first league title since moving to 4A. In addition to competing the Tri-Valley League, the Warriors are eyeing a trip to the state tournament.
Coach: Marc Cowell (ninth year)
Last year: 20-6 (lost to Faith Christian in 3A championship game)
Returning starters: Joe Walls (Sr., 2B/3B), Garret West (Sr., 1B/P), Lou Simpson (Sr., 2B/P), Jarred DeHerrera (Jr., DH), Devlin Granberg (So., SS).
Others to watch: Jay Elliott (Jr., CF), Zach Dedin (So., 3B/P), Conor Stanley (So., OF).
Outlook: The Tigers will be young, but that doesn’t mean untalented. Eight sophomores and a freshman will be on the varsity roster and only Simpson is a tested pitcher, but this is a squad that won it all in 2010 and finished second last season. Don’t be surprised to see them in the mix of 3A state contenders again.
Coach: Ty Giordano (fourth year)
Last year: 13-7 (lost to Pine Creek in 5A second round)
Returning starters: Ty Overboe (Sr., C), Jake Bublitz (Sr., OF), Drew Wells (Sr., IF/P), Dillon Bollig (Sr., 2B), Dylan Farrell (Jr., IF), Jake Long (Sr., P).
Others to watch: Lucas Gilbreath (So., P), Devin Osbment (Sr., P), Tyler Clapper (Sr., Ut.).
Outlook: The Lightning has 14 seniors and figures to be a terror, lineup-wise. Add to that the prospect that the entire pitching staff returns, led by the youthful Gilbreath, and they will try to hold the opposition at bay long enough for the offense to make an impact.
Coach: Tom Fobes (13th year)
Last year: 8-12 (lost to Thomas Jefferson in 4A first round)
Returning starters: Josh Crist (Jr., SS/P), Drew Magee (Jr., 3B/C), Julian Moroyoqui (Sr., C/P), Reilly Mau (Sr., 1B/OF/P).
Others to watch: Dylan Pollock (Sr., P), Andrew Bladt (So., OF/SS).
Outlook: Last season was Longmont’s first sub-.500 campaign in several years, but the Trojans played well enough in Northern League play to crack the postseason bracket. That is the goal again this season, albeit with a more solid regular season. Mau, also a basketball standout, had a big summer.
Coach: Bill Cowan (first year)
Last year: 5-12
Returning starters: Grant Cowan (Sr., SS), Austin Jauregui (Sr., 1B/P), Michael Charles (Sr., C), James Dick (Sr., P/1B), Trevor Dahl (Jr., 3B).
Others to watch: Parker Liske (So., 2B); Sam West (So., OF/C), Dillon Wehrli (So. 2B/OF); Josiah Bolyard (So., OF).
Outlook: Cowan was a three-year assistant who found out in the winter that he would be taking over this year. As the Warriors continue to carve their niche as a program, Cowan wants to symbolize progress with a .500-or-better record.
Coach: Kyle Schuyler (sixth year)
Last year: 10-12 (lost to Byers in 2A round of 16)
Returning starters: Kyle Dick (Sr., P/OF), Heath Fesenmeyer (So., IF), Logan Watson (So., 3B).
Others to watch: Grayson Gibson (Sr., IF), Bowe Herman (Fr., C).
Outlook: The Lions must replace eight seniors from last season’s district-title squad and will have to grow up quickly in the potent Patriot League. The right-handed Dick has stellar stuff on the mound, but the Lions will need to find some depth in the rotation to regularly compete.
Coach: Jared Parrish
Last year: 6-13
Returning starters: T.J. Stanchfield (Sr., SS/P), Cody Beaver (So., OF/P), Brian Cummings (Sr., C), Griffin Nelson (So., P), Austin Van Hooker (So., 2B/OF), Wes Back (Jr., OF).
Others to watch: Tyler Rennison (So., IF/P), Kyle Couch (So., Ut), Kevin Hernandez (Sr., OF), Brian Richie (Sr., P).
Outlook: The youthful Mavericks now have three seniors, but they’re still extremely young. The roster contains five sophomores and two freshmen, but the team has been together for a year and believes a few wins might accompany their quest to build a foundation.
Coach: Scott Weiss (first year)
Last year: 9-10
Returning starters: Ryan Norton (Sr., 2B/SS), Alex Blazon (Sr., 3B/P), Brian Wood (Sr., CF), Cole Maltese (Jr., SS), Jeff Manders (Sr., 2B/1B).
Others to watch: Geoff Clary (Jr., OF), Fred Good (Jr., C), Greg Przedpelski (Sr., C), Gerrit Elzinga (So., P).
Outlook: The Coyotes don’t have a go-to ace entering the season, but are stocked with several capable arms. With Weiss and his assistants containing an abundance of college baseball experience, Monarch figures to be one of the sharpest, well-executing teams in the Front Range League.
Coach: Craig McBride (third year)
Last year: 7-12
Returning starters: Ryan Sypher (Sr., P/3B), Jake Sarosi (Jr., P/OF), Tanner Morris (Jr., P/OF), Brian Meek (So., IF), Tanner Kirkpatrick (So., C), Alex Kinnison (So., P/1B), Pate Katechis (So, P/IF), Cameron Kopplinger (So., P/IF).
Others to watch: Bryan Hawthorne (Jr., OF), Danny Caruso (So., OF).
Outlook: Last season was a rare hiccup for Niwot, typically a fierce challenger in the Northern League and a contender for a state title. McBride has been with the program 11 years overall, and knows what it takes to mold his team back into a threat.
Peak to Peak
Coach: Tim Combs (sixth year)
Last year: 7-12
Returning starters: Tom Jannsen (Sr., P/1B), Ty Pinkerman (Jr., C), Cos Braswell (So., SS), Nick Kelly (Sr., P/OF), Garrett Bride (Sr., P/IF).
Others to watch: Brian Goedde (Jr., P), Isaac Friesen (Jr., P/3B), John Howard (So., OF), Paul Schirmer (Sr., OF).
Outlook: Last season was a disappointment for the Pumas, who were senior-heavy but battled a rash of injuries. With a new on-campus diamond getting its first action this spring, the Pumas are eager to see how they stack up in the potent 3A Metro League.
Coach: Trevor Platt (11th year)
Last year: 13-7 (lost to Cheyenne Mountain in 4A first round)
Returning starters: Greg Reynolds (Sr., P), Wyatt Knechtel (Sr., 1B/P), KC Lord (Sr., OF/P), Austin Apodaca (Sr., OF), Kellen Wenande (Jr., C), Joey Stauss (Jr., 1B/P), Trey Fleming (Jr., OF/P).
Others to watch: Ryan Templeton (Sr., OF/P), Garrett Howard (Sr., 1B), Ben Whoo Ching (Sr., 3B/P), Newan Jing Singh (Sr., OF), Chico Grines (Jr., 2B), Levi Deckert (Jr., OF/P), Andre Apodaca (So., 1B/OF/P), Matt Seidem (So., C/3B), Scott Platt (So., 2B/SS).
Outlook: The Raptors have molded themselves into one of the more consistent programs in 4A, one that can be virtually penciled in for an appearance in the state tournament each season. This season, headed by ace Reynolds, Silver Creek boasts a solid mix of veterans and young contributors.
Coach: Mike Hoog (seventh year)
Last year: 5-14
Returning starters: Brandon Moore (Sr., P), Adam Reigle (So., CF), Garret Angsted (So., C).
Others to watch: Rob Painter (Sr., OF), Tyler Hamby (Fr., 2B), Michael Miller (Fr., P-3B), Aaron Soriano (So., 1B), Josh Boessler (Sr., C-P).
Outlook: The Falcons are extremely young, particularly up the middle. They have a sophomore at catcher and center field and freshmen at the middle-infield positions. While Moore is the principal starter, Miller could make an immediate impact at the back end of games.