PLAYERS TO KNOW
Brooklynn DeLozier, Sr., Niwot: If you choose to stand beyond the fence when this senior is up to bat, look out. Her swing is defined and dangerous.
Dana Dwyer, So., Silver Creek: Might not need as many innings in the circle this year, but she’ll be expected to follow up on a standout freshman season.
Alicia Hernandez, Jr., Frederick: Last year’s BoCoPreps.com player of the year, Hernandez has a power arm that will keep opposing batters whiffing.
Kenzie Jackson, Jr., Broomfield: The Eagles are a 5A contender, and Jackson showed as a sophomore she provides a little of everything.
Bailey Kleespies, Sr., Niwot: Fleet-of-foot shortstop could lead the state in scoring for a second straight season.
Lindsey Malkin, Jr., Broomfield: Double-digit home runs might be a tall order, but it’s entirely possible for the Eagles slugger.
Ellie Owens, Sr., Longmont: On-base machine should score plenty of runs for the Trojans in their attempt to break through in the Northern League.
Leah Osborn, Sr., Skyline: Multisport star is the centerpiece of a Falcons lineup looking to hit their way to state again.
Rio Sanchez, Jr., Erie: Coming alive late for Erie as a driving force in the Tigers’ run at state, Sanchez could be one of 4A’s elite pitchers in 2015.
Emily Taggart, Jr., Legacy: After slamming eight home runs in 2014, the junior catcher should command the middle of the Lightning batter order.
Casey Wagner, Jr., Silver Creek: Even repeat numbers from 2014 would be welcome, but the Raptors should see an increase in production from the third baseman.
Paris Woods, Jr., Frederick: One of several Warriors who finds the gaps in the outfield, Woods is a young leader on a team eyeing a state championship.
Class 5A, 4A, 3A regionals — Oct. 17, to be determined.
Class 5A, 4A, 3A state tournament — Oct. 23-24, Aurora Sports Park.
Coach: Pam Arnold (1st season)
Last year: 2-17 overall, 0-14 Class 4A Northern League
Returning starters: Sydney Arthur, Util., So.; Katie Bush, C/IF, So.; Adriana Gomez-Andrews, P/Util., Sr.; Kelly McCarty, P/SS, So.; Harmony Wright, OF/2B, So.
Others to watch: None.
Outlook: Boulder didn’t find a lot of reprieve in moving to the 4A Northern League, and with just one senior and no juniors on the squad 2015 can very much be looked at as a rebuilding year for Arnold in her first season. Bush returns as the team’s top hitter of a year ago.
Coach: Paula Seifried (9th season).
Last year: 17-7 overall, 8-3 Class 5A Front Range League.
Returning starters: Megan Biesterfield, Util., Jr.; Taylor Gilmore, P, Jr.; Mackenzie Jackson, C, Jr.; Kendall Lockwood, LF, Jr.; Linnie Malkin, 3B, Jr.; Matti Morales, DP, Jr.; Hannah Shores, Sr., CF; Brennan Thomas, 2B, Jr.
Others to watch: Lainey Hughes, OF, So.; Lauren Lynch, 1B, Sr.
Outlook: A tough-fought Class 5A state semifinal certainly matured the group of Eagles who are back on the field this year, and Seifried’s team is taking aim at the Front Range League title. Led by Malkin, Broomfield’s hitting lineup should produce some fireworks, making up for a lack of speed overall. Gilmore is a very solid pitcher who will overwhelm batters most of the time.
Coach: Mike Lujan (7th season).
Last year: 6-13 overall, 3-11 Northern League.
Returning starters: Alex Burgess, IF, Jr.; Madison Dilullo, CF, Sr.; Riley Grieble, IF, Jr.; Kate Johnson, P, Sr.; Brooke Jones, IF, Jr.; Maddie Wright, C, Sr.
Others to watch: Rachel Koeller, OF, Fr.; Kerry Malone, Util., Fr.; Chloe Rader, OF. Fr.; Maggie Reed, IF, Jr.
Outlook: After having some low numbers last year, Lujan saw a good turnout for the team’s initial days of camp and hopes that will blossom into having more experience down the line. Johnson hit .295 and scored 21 runs last year, and Jones and Burgess will provide some occasional pop. Lujan is excited to have a former player, Nicole Hudson, helping out with the varsity team.
Coach: Harold Simmons (1st season).
Last year: 15-9 overall, 9-3 Class 4A Tri-Valley League.
Returning starters: Lynsey Bauchert, DH, Jr.; Anne Fisher, OF, Sr.; Maddie Foster, 2B, Jr.; Katie Glaze, SS, Sr.; Victoria Macias, 1B, Sr.; Rio Sanchez, P, Jr.; Bri Wilson, OF, Sr.
Others to watch: Hannah Hackney, C, So.
Outlook: The Tigers knocked on the door once again in Class 4A, making the semifinals before falling to eventual champ Valor Christian. Simmons worked with Bob Bledsoe very closely and has a great reputation, and he’ll have the luxury of having Sanchez to build around the next two years. Glaze is another player who will hit for average, and the Tigers will again get an early test in their own Tournament of Champions on Labor Day weekend.
Coach: Amanda Rabatin (1st season).
Last year: 9-10 overall, 3-8 Front Range League.
Returning starters: Katie Sanko, P, Sr; Eleni Vlachos, OF, Sr.
Others to watch: Faith Anderson, P/1B, So.; Maddie Levenberg, C/OF, So.; Riley Todacheen, Fr.
Outlook: Rabatin takes over a young team, as last year’s Knights had nine seniors. However, she said much of her team has competitive softball experience and that the summer has been all about team-building and developing strong on-field communication skills. It helps to have a reliable pitcher, and Sanko can be counted on to throw a lot of innings in the ultra-tough Front Range League.
Coach: Roger Dufour (21st season).
Last year: 24-1 overall, 12-0 Tri-Valley League.
Returning starters: Hannah Ellis, C., Jr.; Savannah Hall, 1B, Sr.; Alicia Hernandez, P, Jr.; Lorena Hernandez, DP, So.; Mae Mitchell, SS, Sr.; Paris Woods, OF, Jr.; Julia Wyatt, OF, Jr.
Others to watch: Shea Heath, 2B, Sr.; Brooklyn Johnson, 3B, Jr.
Outlook: The Warriors mean business and a repeat run at the Class 4A state championship is both realistic and logical. Pitcher Alicia Hernandez is a phenom who rules the strike zone. Dufour’s primary concern was finding a leadoff hitter that will get on base consistently, but with three returning players who had a OPS above 1.000 the runs will come aplenty.
HOLY FAMILY TIGERS
Coach: Mitchell Martinez (2nd season).
Last year: 7-14 overall, 4-8 Tri-Valley League.
Returning starters: Kamryn Brothers, OF, Sr.; Katelyn Caviness, OF, Jr.; Taryn Cook, OF, Jr.; Skylar Gardner, 3B, Jr.; Natalie Gardon, SS, Sr.; Emily Georgia, OF, Sr.; Jalen Gonzales, P, So.; Kendall Holmes, P, Jr.; Jazmin Means, 1B/3B, Sr.
Others to watch: None.
Outlook: The adventure that was the first year in 4A is now well behind Holy Family, a team that really never found itself on offense throughout the 2014 season. Now, in Martinez’s second year, improvement is expected. Martinez said his seniors have really set a positive tone in practice so far, and the Tigers will look to a strong defensive effort to peak at the optimal time.
Coach: Dawn Gaffin (16th season).
Last year: 16-6 overall, 10-1 Front Range League.
Returning starters: Gianna Ball, Util.; So.; Trisha Cook, Util., So.; Taylor Dannenberg, P/OF, Jr.; Megan Foley, CF/SS, So.; Katelyn Kubitschek, Util., Jr.; Emily Taggart, C/1B, Jr.
Others to watch: Parker Dannenberg, Util. So.
Outlook: The great thing about the Legacy softball program is that there are a number of girls who can play different defensive positions and play them well. One can expect them to be at or near the top of the FRL once again, thanks to a great hitting lineup (averaged 8.8 runs per outing in 2014). The Lightning will have to see if a new pitcher emerges as an ace.
Coach: Kelsey Walters (1st season).
Last year: 8-11 overall, 5-9 Northern League.
Returning starters: Ali Aitken, 1B, Jr.; Jessie Harold, SS, Sr.; Amanda Kowalski, OF, So.; Jenna Moore, OF/P, So.; Taylor Neilsen, C/OF, So.; Ellie Owens, 2B, Sr.; Alexis Sayles, 3B/C, Sr.; Hali Walters, P, Sr.
Others to watch: None.
Outlook: Kelsey Walters, a product of LHS, first and foremost would love to bring some stability to the LHS softball program, which has now had five coaches in the past six years. She will break in with a good number of players from the 2014 squad who hit and pitched well — including her younger sister, Hali — but that had their share of troubles in the field (53 errors in nine games). Neilsen is an exciting player, and she, Owens and Kowalski combined for 42 stolen bases — so the speed is there. A winning record would represent a big step to open Walters’ tenure.
Coach: Amy Renaldi (2nd season).
Last year: 8-12 overall, 5-9 Class 3A District 3.
Returning starters: Kayla Bunton, OF, Jr.; Claire Busby, OF, Sr.; Shaeli Herman, C, So.; Liz Jonjak, SS, Jr.; Aislin Khleif, 1B, So.; Abbie Liquori, OF, Sr.
Others to watch: None.
Outlook: The Lions had but four seniors last year, and all the younger players for Renaldi have worked diligently to improve the program in her second year. Jonjak drove in 31 runs last year, and with the expectations of more baserunners ahead of her that number should increase. The team’s overall speed will be used to get runners around, but pitching is a question mark after graduating their most prominent hurler.
Coach: Amanda Macaluso (2nd season).
Last year: 11-12 overall, 3-9 Tri-Valley League.
Returning starters: Sydney Boaz, SS, Sr.; Bree Boruff, CF, Sr.; Shaylee Jelinek, 3B, Sr.; Gina McDaniel, OF, Sr.; Savannah Mill, LF, Sr.; Makenzie Regan, P/1B, Jr.; Shannon Sproul, OF, Sr.; Natasha Quintana, 2B, Sr.; Anna Veltien, P/1B, So.
Others to watch: Jada Levine, OF, So.
Outlook: After making the state tournament field last year, Macaluso is optimistic that a return trip is possible behind a strong senior class. The Mavericks will look to improve their seeding by getting a few more league wins (3-9 in TVL), and she has been encouraged with Veltien’s command in the circle. Jelinek is coming off a .370/31-run/24-RBI season, and many of her teammates are good contact hitters who can also do the little things. Mead will have some young players starting, too.
Coach: Erika Sponenberg (2nd season),
Last year: 3-16 overall, 0-11 Front Range League,
Returning starters: Ali Harford, P/OF, Sr.; Erin Hersey, P/OF, Jr.; Laura Macdonald, 3B/1B, Jr.; Sydney Marchetti, 2B/SS, Jr.; Jane Polyard, Util., Sr.; Hannah Urbach, C, Jr.
Others to watch: None.
Outlook: The Coyotes have struggled the past two seasons to get wins in the Front Range League, but with some good hitters and perhaps just a little more consistent pitching, Monarch will compete. Marchetti hit .339 and led the team in runs, Polyard hit an impressive .436 and the team was aggressive on the basepaths. That should continue and lead to more runs. Sponenberg is also excited about a strong freshman class that could contribute soon.
Coach: Bobby Matthews (5th season).
Last year: 16-6-1 overall, 11-3 Northern League.
Returning starters: Rosie Cain, C, Sr.; Brooklynn DeLozier, CF, Sr.; Jaila Johnson, P/LF, So.; Bailey Kleespies, SS, Sr.; Maddie Kunkel, P/2B, Jr.; Grace Ladd, P/1B, Jr.; Alyssa Meadows, 3B, Sr.; Sydney Valerio, RF, Sr.; Meghan Waidler, P, Sr.
Others to watch: Aleris Law, Util., So.
Outlook: It’s frightening to think of the potential of Niwot’s offense, what with a lineup of mostly returning players who came together to score 10 runs a game last year. Delozier, of course, leads the way as a power threat, and Kleespies is one of the area’s pure softball talents. The Cougars split up their pitching duties effectively between Waidler, Kunkel and Ladd, and that should keep arms fresh throughout the year. A Northern League title is in the cross hairs.
PEAK TO PEAK PUMAS
Coach: Brandin Becher (2nd season).
Last year: 6-13 overall, 5-5 Class 3A District 1.
Returning starters: Tessa Anderson, P, Sr.; Morgan Brantmeyer, C, So.; Fiona Freeman-Grundei, IF, Sr.; Claire Hankla, Util., So.; Sabine Schnabel, OF, Sr.
Others to watch: None.
Outlook: While Peak to Peak took its lumps last year against some of the elite teams on its schedule, the Pumas are anticipating much more competitiveness in Becher’s second season at the helm. He says he feels the team is resilient and more experienced, which could pay dividends if they do encounter a tough loss. Anderson, a star in track and field, had nine extra-base hits in 2014 and will be the center of the order, while Brantmeyer is back after a strong freshman season at the plate. As a team, reducing strikeouts is a must.
SILVER CREEK RAPTORS
Coach: Ryan Beavers (9th season).
Last year: 16-7 overall, 13-1 Northern League.
Returning starters: Rebecca Dunn, C/Util., Jr.; Dana Dwyer, P/1B, So.; Hope Fletcher, 1B/OF, Sr.; Emma Flynn, C/2B, So.; Sheyann Ludwig, SS/C, Sr.; Casey Wagner, 3B/OF, Jr.; Makenna Wright, 3B/OF, Jr.
Others to watch: Becca Gruner, Util., So.; Kayla Harper, Util., Fr.; Jetta Nannan, Util., Fr.
Outlook: There are some teams you just know are going to be within a game or two of the top of their conference when the season is winding down, and Silver Creek is an example. Beavers gets a lot out of his youngest players, which leads to great things when they’re older. Dwyer was a come-out-of-nowhere pitcher who helped the Raptors in a time of need, but this year there seems to be much more depth in the circle — a key for the team’s success, according to Beaver. Ludwig and Wagner combined for 10 home runs last year, but power is widespread in this lineup.
Coach: Scarlett Gemm (4th season).
Last year: 16-6 overall, 10-0 Class 3A District 1.
Returning starters: Yesenia Antunez Cortes, C, Jr.; Monica Arvizu, 3B/OF, Sr.; Brittany Ballard, Util., Sr.; Kayla David, 1B , Sr.; Hailey Johnson, IF, So.; Leah Osborn, SS, Sr.; Hannah Painter, C/OF, Jr.; Alyssa Powell, Util., Jr.; Tessa Powell, Util., Jr.; Aabriti Shrestha, Util., Sr.; Aiyana Solomon, Util., So.; Yesenia Solomon, Util., So.
Others to watch: Emma Swaney, Fr.; Ally Levin, Fr.
Outlook: A stellar season came to a halt for Skyline in the first round of the state tournament, but the Falcons took necessary steps in what they hope will be a sustained run of success for the program. Led by Osborn and Painter, the team smacked the ball all around the field and scored buckets of runs while at the same time showing patience at the plate. The key for the team will be showing that same selectiveness against the tougher pitchers that accompany state-title contending teams.
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