David R Jennings
10 TO KNOW
Brandon Bailey, Sr., Broomfield, designated hitter: OK, so we won’t get to see that vaunted mid-90-mph fastball this season as he recovers from an arm injury. But any player heading to Gonzaga deserves to make the list.
Kyle Couch, Jr., Mead, utility: Yes, the same guy who became Mead’s first-ever state wrestling champion and recorded over 100 tackles as a linebacker during football season also excels on the diamond.
Devlin Granberg, Jr., Holy Family, shortstop: The BBCOR bats were supposed to limit extra-base hits, weren’t they? Don’t tell Granberg, who blasted 10 doubles, six triples and five home runs as a sophomore.
Ryan Fesmire, Sr., Erie, catcher: A defensive wizard who also hit .403 last season, Fesmire is one of the most complete players in 4A. He’ll play at Concordia University next season.
Kevin Flores, Boulder, Sr., pitcher: The most experienced Panthers pitcher will team with sophomore Grant Rogers to give Boulder a solid 1-2 punch at the top of the rotation.
Cameron Frazier, Jr., Fairview, shortstop: His breakout sophomore season on a roster filled with upperclassmen was a bit of a surprise, but his abilities won’t catch anyone off guard this season. Everyone now knows he is the real deal.
Drew Magee, Sr., Longmont, catcher: If he gets hot, look out. His streaks are Mike Trout-esque, and when locked in, he can shell the best of pitchers. He is moving from third base to catcher this season.
Cole Maltese, Sr., Monarch, shortstop: Hit .421 last season and is a bona fide middle-of-the-lineup threat. He has soft hands in the infield, too, and will remain perhaps the Coyotes’ most polished player.
Jake Sarosi, Sr., Niwot, outfield: The Cougars had an emerging corps of underclassmen last season and Sarosi was the best of the bunch. His .410 average, 25 hits and nine extra-base hits represented team bests.
Logan Soole, So., Monarch, pitcher/outfield: He was a multi-position threat in football as a running back and defensive back, and will be on the diamond as well with a gifted arm and solid bat.
May 11: District tournaments (5A, 4A, 3A); Regional tournaments (2A and 1A).
May 16: 1A state tournament.
May 17-18: Opening weekend of double-elimination state tournament (5A, 4A and 3A). 2A regional tournament on May 18.
May 24-25: Championship weekend of double-elimination state tournament (5A, 4A and 3A). 2A title game on May 25.
ALEXANDER DAWSON MUSTANGS
Coach: Mike Green (third year)
Last year: 6-8 (lost to Resurrection Christian in 2A districts)
Returning starters: Graham Gansar (Jr., IF), Kai Malowany (Sr., C/P), Matt Payne (Sr., OF), Ryan Smith (Sr., P).
Others to watch: Liam Angus (So., IF), Tanner Fulkerson (Fr., IF), Max McClellan (Fr., C/IF), Chris Slade (Fr., Util).
Outlook: The Mustangs have steadily improved under Green and expect to make an impact in his third season. A solid mix of veterans and underclassmen is meshing well with Green’s fundamental-based system, which puts an emphasis on putting the ball in play and moving runners.
Coach: Steve Disbrow (seventh year)
Last year: 7-11-1
Returning starters: Luke Bukowski (Jr., OF), Ray Feigal (Sr., 1B), Kevin Flores (Sr., P), Loic Guegan (Sr., OF), Nate Marcotte (Sr., C), Grant Rogers (So., P).
Others to watch: Levi Chandler (Jr., 3B).
Outlook: The Panthers will have to overcome the offseason injuries to infielder Tommy Baumgartner and pitcher Austin Blessing. With Flores and Rogers at the top of the rotation, the Panthers should be competitive, but will need to find some consistent depth on the mound. Chandler returns after studying abroad last season.
Coach: Garren Estes (10th year)
Last year: 23-5 (won 4A state championship)
Returning starters: Brandon Bailey (Sr., DH), Hayden Estes (Sr., OF) Dylan Gable (Sr., OF), Ben Martinez (Sr., C), Ryan McCulley (Sr., OF), Angelo Perez (Sr., SS).
Others to watch: Pat Lalancette (Sr., IF), Ryan Sena (IF/P, Sr.).
Outlook: It will be difficult to top last season, which ended with a 4A state title, but the Eagles return several stalwarts from that squad and will try to match the accomplishment. The big news is that the Gonzaga-bound Bailey, the Eagles’ ace, has experienced arm issues and will not pitch this season. He’ll continue to be in the Eagles’ lineup.
Coach: Aaron Allen (second year)
Last year: 1-18
Returning starters: Adam DeVito (Sr., C), Brody Jaskul (Sr., OF/C), Lance Matosky (Sr., /OF), Colton Royer (Sr., P), David Shald (Sr., IF), Kristian Williams (Jr., 1B), Matt Wright (Sr., OF).
Others to watch: Tristen Archuleta (Jr., SS), David Neitenbach (OF/P, So).
Outlook: While the record looks dismal, last season essentially was about starting a program from scratch for Allen. The Warriors made strides in the summer, and some tangible results should surface this season. Jaskul and Wright have the potential to morph into some of the Northern League’s finest players.
Coach: Harold Simmons (fifth year)
Last year: 11-8
Returning starters: Coltin Brink (Jr., IF), Connor Conilogue (Sr., DH), Caleb Crites (Sr., 1B), Ryan Fesmire (Sr., C), Kyle Leahy (So, P), Dillon Reider (Sr., 3B).
Others to watch: Dylan Brink (Jr., Util), B.J. Jensen (So, Util.), Joe Ramey (Jr, OF/P), Eli Wilden (Jr., Util).
Outlook: In their third year in 4A, the Tigers are looking to become regulars in the postseason. They’ll have to overcome a season-prohibiting knee injury to center fielder Tyler Lee and the defection to Regis Jesuit of pitcher Zach Woodruff, but a solid corps of returning starters will keep the Tigers competitive.
Coach: Rick Harig (21st year)
Last year: 8-10
Returning starers: Cannon Casey (Jr., C), Johnny Feauto (So., IF), Cameron Frazier (Jr., IF), Anders Hill (Jr., Util.), Jeremy Katz (Sr., IF), Ryan Madden (So., IF/P), Tim Ryan (So., OF).
Others to watch: Steve D’Epagnier (So., 1B), Walker Harris (So., OF).
Outlook: The youthful Knights developed many of their young players over the summer, and many of them stayed in shape in their multi-sport endeavors. For instance, Feauto, Frazier and Ryan were standouts for the Knights football team, and Harris was a member of Monarch’s state runner-up hockey team.
Coach: Ted Clapp (ninth year)
Last year: 8-11
Returning starers: Jaron Balman (Sr., C/P), Michael Broz (Jr., Util.), Nathan Harrison (Sr., IF/P), Ryan Zuniga (Sr., 1B/P).
Others to watch: Cody Baker (Sr., Util), Christian Martinez (Sr., OF), Eric Worley (So., IF).
Outlook: The Warriors have their top three starting pitchers back from last season in Broz (4-4 record), Balman (3-2) and Harrison (1-4) and will look to climb the ladder in the Tri-Valley League standings. Balman, who will play at Northeastern Junior College, also was a beast with the bat, clubbing 14 extra-base hits, including four homers, en route to a .407 season.
HOLY FAMILY TIGERS
Coach: Marc Cowell (10th year)
Last year: 17-7 (lost to Eaton in 3A final four)
Returning starters: Austin Brown (So., P), Jay Elliot (Sr., OF), Devlin Granberg (Jr., SS), Jacob Tinnon (Jr., OF)
Others to watch: Adrian Do (Sr., P), Matt Erb (Jr., 2B).
Outlook: Granberg burst onto the scene as one of the classification’s most accomplished power hitters and best overall players last season. He’ll lead a solid contingent of returning players, including the left-handed Brown and right-handed Do, who will become fulltime members of the rotation this season. Erb had a standout summer and figures to emerge as a starter.
Coach: Ty Giordano (fifth year)
Last year: 15-5 (lost to Cherokee Trail in 5A districts)
Returning starters: Jakob Bublitz (Sr., Util.), Dylan Farrell (Sr., IF), Lucas Gilbreath (Jr., P).
Others to watch: Travis Baum (Sr., Util.), James Camerlo (Sr., OF), Steven Yoshihara (Sr., P).
Outlook: Graduation claimed much of the Lightning’s lineup and pitching staff, but the cupboards are far from bare. Bublitz recently committed to Hutchinson (Kan.) Community College and the left-handed Gilbreath was a member of the Futures roster of the Colorado Rockies All-Star game last season.
Coach: Tom Fobes (14th year)
Last year: 16-8 (went 1-2 in 4A Championship Series to tie for fifth place)
Returning starters: Will Amen (Jr., P/IF), Andrew Bladt (Jr., SS), Josh Crist (Sr., OF), Kyler Leroux (Jr., OF), Drew Magee (Sr., C), Cameron Yee (Jr., OF), Zach Zamudio (Jr., IF).
Others to watch: Tyler Pettibone (Sr., 2B), Brett Sterkel (Jr., P).
Outlook: The Trojans will have to replace their top three starters on the mound, but the lineup still appears potent with Crist, Magee and Yee back in the fold. All hit .347 or better last season. The Trojans were streaky last season with a five-game winning streak and two four-game streaks.
LONGMONT CHRISTIAN WARRIORS
Coach: Victor Puchino (first year)
Last year: 5-12
Returning starters: Josiah Bolyard (Jr., OF), Trevor Dahl (Sr., 3B), Parker Liske (Jr., SS), Dillon Wehrli (Jr., IF/OF), Sam West (Jr., C).
Others to watch: Austin Fineberg (So., 1B/OF), Cade Martin (Fr., P/OF), Anthony Puchino (So., 1B/C).
Outlook: The Warriors have a plentiful contingent of juniors, it’s just a matter of finding out what combination will best mesh. Puchino takes over for Bill Cowan, who moved to Arizona. Puchino is new to the baseball program but has coached basketball alongside Warriors athletic director Jerry Martin (2000-05), and his wife has been a coach at the school.
Coach: Kenneth Rosales (first year)
Last year: 5-15 (lost to Dayspring Christian in 2A districts)
Returning starters: Heath Fesenmeyer (Jr., P/SS), Bowe Herman (So., C/P), Logan Watson (Jr., OF/P).
Outlook: Rosales is in his first season at the helm, but he is very familiar with the program. He was an assistant coach for the past five seasons under Kyle Schuyler, who moved to an assistant principal role. The Lions will be young and lacking depth, but have a solid core and are eager to rebuild quickly.
Coach: Jared Parrish (third year)
Last year: 10-9
Returning starters: Cody Beaver (Jr., P/OF), Kyle Couch (Jr., Util.), Griffin Nelson (Jr., P/1B), Tyler Rennison (Jr., IF/P).
Others to watch: Wes Back (Sr., OF) Nate Hains (Sr., Util.), Hunter Leise (Jr., P/OF), Austin Van Hooker (Jr., 2B).
Outlook: Nelson, the Mavericks’ quarterback in the fall, and Couch, a state champion wrestler, are poised to bring some leadership to the youthful program, which moves up to 4A this season. In addition, Leise is back after moving for a year to Discovery Canyon. This leaves the Mavs in good shape. “I’m cautiously optimistic, I guess you can say,” Parrish said. “But when I think about the possibilities, I get excited.”
Coach: Scott Weiss (second year)
Last year: 14-6 (lost to Ponderosa in 5A districts)
Returning starters: Gerrit Elzinga (Jr., P/OF), Fred Good (Sr., C), Cole Maltese (Sr., SS), Logan Soole (So., P/OF).
Others to watch: Austin Beswick (Sr., P), Levi Ensign (Sr., 1B), Matt Malkin (Jr., C/3B).
Outlook: MoHi baseball was back on the map last season in Weiss’ first year at the helm, as the Coyotes regained solid footing and returned to the postseason. With lefties Elzinga and Soole atop the rotation and the return of the hard-hitting Maltese, a return trip might not be too far down the road. Beswick made for an imposing late-inning reliever last season and could have a larger role on the staff this season.
Coach: Craig McBride (fourth year)
Last year: 5-14
Returning starters: Danny Caruso (Jr., OF), Brian Hawthorne (OF, Sr.), Pate Katechis (Jr., 3B/P), Alex Kinnison (Jr., 1B/P), Tanner Kirkpatrick (Jr., C), Brian Meek (Jr., SS/P), Tanner Morris (Sr., OF/P), Jake Sarosi (Sr., OF/P).
Others to watch: Aldair Cintora (Jr., Util.), Cameron Kopplinger (Jr., IF), Kai Halsey Mendez (Jr., IF), Drew Pasma (Jr., OF).
Outlook: The Cougars varsity roster is composed of nine juniors and three seniors, many of which gleaned experience as young underclassmen. The benefits should start to show this season, as McBride believes his squad is starting to figure out the mental part of the game and absorb the “team” concept. “It’s put up or shut up time,” McBride said.
PEAK TO PEAK PUMAS
Coach: Tim Combs (seventh year)
Last year: 12-8 (lost to Olathe in 3A districts)
Returning starters: Cos Braswell (Jr., 2B/OF), Isaac Friesen (Sr., P), Brian Goedde (Sr., P), John Howard (Jr., 3B), Nick Kelly (Jr., OF), Ty Pinkerman (Sr., C), Mitchell Ward (So., SS).
Others to watch: Blake Bride (Fr., 2B), Taylor Jackson (Jr., OF), Grant Jacobs (Sr., 3B), Phillip Ward (Jr., 1B).
Outlook: The Pumas have a solid top of the rotation with Friesen and Goedde and appear primed for another trip to the postseason. Pinkerman, a four-year starter, is one of the finest catchers in the classification. One early complication is that five Pumas also play for the basketball team. With the hoops team in the 3A playoff bracket, the sports are overlapping to begin the season.
SILVER CREEK RAPTORS
Coach: Trevor Platt (12th year)
Last year: 9-10-1 (lost to Air Academy in 4A districts)
Returning starters: Andre Apodaca (Jr., P/1B), Trey Fleming (Sr., P/OF), Scott Platt (Jr., SS), Joey Stauss (Sr., P/1B), Kellen Wenande (Sr., C).
Others to watch: Levi Deckert (Sr., P/OF), Matt Siedem (Jr., C).
Outlook: The Raptors have a strong cadre of upperclassmen, as their core almost is exclusively seniors and juniors. Last season was up and down and led to a brutal draw in the postseason, where the Raptors earned the No. 32 seed and had to take on No. 1 Air Academy (a 6-2 loss). Platt believes his squad has the talent to compete for a much higher seed this season.
Coach: Mike Hoog (eighth year)
Last year: 3-16
Returning starters: Garret Angstead (Jr., C), Tyler Hamby (So., 2B/P), Michael Miller (Sr., 3B/P), Adam Reigle (Jr., OF), Aaron Soriano (Jr., 1B/P).
Others to watch: Justin Forsyth (So., OF), Derek Searls (Jr., OF), Andrew Stoops (So., SS/P).
Outlook: The Falcons are looking for a rebound year after starting a bevy of underclassmen last season. The roster is junior-heavy now after having seven sophomores on last season’s squad. Reigle was the best of the bunch, batting .373 with a team-best 14 RBIs.