Matthew Jonas / Staff Photographer
Paul Aiken / Staff Photographer
Cliff Grassmick / Staff Photographer
Cliff Grassmick / Staff Photographer
Cliff Grassmick / Staff Photographer
PLAYERS TO WATCH
Caleb Ayers, Sr., Mead: The Mavericks’ lanky pitcher posted a 2.73 ERA while striking out 42 batters over 33.1 innings as a junior last spring and will anchor a young Mead pitching staff in 2019.
Dorsey Chatham, Jr., Boulder: The junior posted a .500 on-base percentage with 17 RBIs and a .666 slugging percentage in 54 plate appearances as a sophomore last spring.
J.D. Jones, So., Fairview: Already committed to the University of Miami, he’ll be the receiver for a promising Fairview pitching staff and fill a crucial spot in the lineup after leading the Knights with 18 RBIs and batting .404 last spring.
Tucker Heroux, Sr., Dawson School: He brings a .371/.494/.580 slash line, 13 stolen bases and a 2.50 ERA to the Mustangs’ dugout and will be a big piece of Dawson’s bid for a district title.
Collin Kringlen, Sr., Holy Family: One of several talented all-around players for the Tigers, he batted .418, stole seven bases and posted a 1.83 ERA on the mound as a junior.
Mitch Morales, Sr., Broomfield: The Eagles’ leading hitter last season with a .421 average and 13 extra-base hits, he’ll also play a key role in the Broomfield rotation this spring.
Brady Renck, Sr., Longmont: He’ll play baseball at Westmont College next year but before that, the middle infielder who batted .347 and stole a dozen bases as a junior hopes to lead the Trojans back to state in his final prep season.
Spencer Rich, Sr., Silver Creek: A big-time bat in the Raptors’ lineup, Rich posted a .485/.533/.764 slash line and drove in 13 runs with 10 extra-base hits last spring.
Jake Thiret, Sr., Prospect Ridge: As a junior, he doubled eight times and batted .535 while stealing nine bases and striking out 34 batters in 18.1 innings on the mound.
Jon Thoren, Sr., Erie: As a junior last season, he struck out 40 batters in 25.2 innings while posting a 3.27 ERA and promises to be a key factor in the Tigers making a deeper playoff run this spring.
Regional tournaments for Class 1A will be completed by May 11, and 2A, 3A, 4A and 5A regionals will be completed May 17-18. The 1A championship game will be May 16. The 2A state tournament will begin May 25. For Classes 3A, 4A and 5A, state tournaments will begin May 24-25.
Coach: Jack Taylor (second year)
Last year: 12-8 overall, 6-6 Cass 5A Front Range League (lost in regionals)
Returning starters: Dorsey Chatham (Jr., 3B/P), Teddy Schoenfeld (Sr., CF/OF), Jonny Suchor (Sr., SS/P), Jackson Wyatt (Sr., INF/OF)
Others to watch: Nate Bach (Jr., 1B), Riley Bajza (Sr., INF), Doug Blankenship (Sr., C), Luke Pemperton (Jr., OF), Ben Worden-Sapper (Sr., OF), Julian Zamora (Jr., P)
Outlook: Last year, the Panthers won some big games against ranked opponents. They hope to make similar statements this season, but that will require leadership from Boulder’s senior class and more overall consistency. Schoenfeld, Suchor and Chatham should lead the team as returners, and the Panthers expect big things from Zamora and Pemperton, as well. Blankenship will anchor the club from behind home plate and watch out for Bach’s bat at first base.
Coach: Garren Estes (16th year)
Last year: 10-10 overall, 6-6 5A Front Range League (lost in regionals)
Returning starters: Zac Boh (Sr., P/OF), Trenton Harris (Jr., SS), Zach Mocasko (Sr., P/OF), Mitch Morales (Sr., P/OF)
Others to watch: Preston May (Sr., P)
Outlook: As always, the Broomfield Eagles want to compete in one of the most competitive Class 5A conferences in Colorado and make a push to qualify for postseason play. A year removed from a 20-win season, the Eagles will be a young team with six sophomores and a pair of freshmen on the roster. Still, they will play a tough non-league schedule including some out-of-state 6A competition.
Coach: Douglas Kinney (third year)
Last year: 4-15 overall, 2-12 in 4A Northern League
Returning starters: Jack Battistelli (Jr., 2B/P), Randall Blare (Sr., OF), Trevor Erickson (Sr., OF), Brayden Rizzi (Sr., 1B/P), Kaden Shepherd (Sro., C/3B/P), Nick Vantassell (Jr., SS/P)
Others to watch: David Jachimiak (So., 3B/P), Connor Larson (Jr., OF/P), Henry Ziegert (So., C), Eddie Zygowicz (So., C/IF)
Outlook: For the sake of their program, this year’s Centaurus boys are looking to compete at a higher level. Helping their cause, the Warriors lineup is more experienced after playing together for the past several seasons. Two-way senior Randall Blare will miss the first couple of weeks with an injury, but the rest of the Warriors pitching staff returns to open the spring.
DAWSON SCHOOL MUSTANGS
Coach: Joe McKenzie (sixth year)
Last year: 13-8 overall, 5-3 in 2A Mile High League (lost in district championship)
Returning starters: Brandon Day (Jr., OF), Simon Dodge (Sr., C), Tucker Heroux (Sr., P/OF), Donovan Muniz (Sr., P/IF), Daniel Gayten-Cerna (Sr., OF), Evan Molls (So., P/1B)
Others to watch: Nate Bernstein (Jr., P/IF), Tommy Noonan (So., IF), Ryan Oliver (Sr., OF), Connor Wolf (Fr., P/OF)
Outlook: McKenzie said the Mustangs expect to compete for a District 7 championship and make their way back to Pueblo in May. To that end, they have assembled a challenging schedule, which they hope will reflect in a competitive RPI score by season’s end. The Mustangs’ strength will be in its current core of seniors and the leadership it provides, and though they have set high goals for themselves, the Dawson boys feel capable of accomplishing them.
Coach: Harold Simmons (11th year)
Last year: 9-11 overall, 6-8 4A Tri-Valley League (lost in regionals)
Returning starters: Trevor Ball (Jr., SS), Benji Havener (So., OF), Gavin Mendoza (Jr., C), Nash Phillips (Jr., 2B), Jon Thoren (Sr., P/1B)
Others to watch: Kaleb Fuhrman (Sr., OF), Issac Khanna (Sr., OF)
Outlook: After an early playoff exit last spring, Erie brings back a solid base of starters to pair with staff ace Jon Thoren, who struck out 40 batters in 25.2 innings while posting a 3.27 ERA as a junior. The Tigers hope to make a deeper playoff run this year, ideally returning to the Final 8 for the first time in several years, and improving on last season’s team ERA of 4.88 would be a good start. The Tigers return a number of players who logged meaningful innings last spring so there’s reason to be optimistic.
Coach: David Castillo (fourth year)
Last year: 6-13 overall, 5-7 5A Front Range League
Returning starters: Greysen Carter (So., P/IF/OF), Graham Gilchrist (Sr., P/1B), David Hopkins (Jr., IF/OF), Brett Jones (Jr., IF), J.D. Jones (So., C/3B/1B), Henry Rock (Sr., OF/P)
Others to watch: Hal Humphrey (Sr., OF/1B), Adam Moser (So., OF), Dillon Souvignier (So., OF/1B), Kenneth Stephens (Jr., 1B/P/OF)
Outlook: The Knights went 5-7 in the Front Range League and missed the playoff cut, which is unusual for this Fairview program. The Knights have designs on returning to the postseason in 2019, and the battery will be their strength. First team all-conference catcher J.D. Jones (Miami) will guide a pitching staff that has three solid returning arms including sophomore Greysen Carter, who has been impressing with his velocity early in spring workouts. Offensively, expect the Knights’ outfield to lead the way.
Coach: Blaine Shirley (fourth year)
Last year: 3-16 overall, 0-14 4A Tri-Valley League
Returning starters: Ryan Bacca (Sr., SS/P), Cole Hoffman (Sr., 3B), Brandon Hornby (Jr., OF/P), Trevor Hazlett (Sr., OF), Brayden Weingardt (Jr., C)
Others to watch: Tyler Segura (Jr., P), Jonah Sanders (Jr., IF)
Outlook: The Warriors struggled last year but did so with an exceedingly young roster. They’ll be relatively inexperienced again this spring but the Frederick boys have a lot more returning talent than they had at this point in 2018, and the Warriors think they have a shot to significantly improve on last year’s three-win campaign. “We’re right on the edge and we’re returning a lot of juniors,” Shirley said. “We’re still on the young side but we’ve got some guys and some pitchers who can legit play.”
HOLY FAMILY TIGERS
Coach: Marc Cowell (13th year)
Last year: 17-6 overall, 11-3 4A Tri-Valley League (went 1-2 at state tournament)
Returning starters: Josh Baker (Sr., 2B/P), Jacob Callaway (Sr., C), Matthew Delgado (Sr., 1B/P), Zach Becker (Sr., SS/P), Collin Kringlen (Sr., B/P), Davis Martinek (Sr., CF), Jordon McFarland (Sr., P), Weston Siefken (Sr., 3B/P)
Others to watch: Cord Kringlen (S., 1B/P), Nick McGowan (Sr., OF), AJ Perez (Jr., OF), Izaak Siefken (So., SS/3B/P)
Outlook: The Tigers graduated just three starters from last season’s 17-win campaign and will be a senior-heavy club with lots of varsity experience. Expecting their pitching staff to spearhead the 2019 season, the Tigers return their top three arms. With the addition of sophomore Izaak Siefken and Delgado’s maturation, the Tigers have five pitchers capable of starting games. Already with a half dozen or so players signed to play at the next level, Holy Family figures to be an early contender in Class 4A.
JEFFERSON ACADEMY JAGUARS
Coach: Gino Carbajal (third year)
Last year: 14-7 overall, 7-5 3A Metro League (lost in district championship)
Returning starters: Grant Anderson (Sr., P/SS/OF), Andrew Baker (So., OF), Brendan Baker (Sr., C/P), Pearson Gardner (Jr., P/SS/OF), Kade Leuthauser (So., 3B), Ryan Ponzio (Sr., OF/P), Elian Soto (Jr., P/SS)
Others to watch: Stanley Baldwin (Jr., 2B/P)
Outlook: The Jaguars were a young team last spring but still made significant strides, and the year-older version of the team that fell one run short of the state tournament should be tough. The team’s summer club won the American Legion B state championship in July and after getting a taste of winning, the Jaguars are ready to bring that success to the prep season this spring. Baldwin was MVP of the Jaguars’ Legion B run and will bolster a solid returning core that has great potential.
Coach: Ty Giordano (11th year)
Last year: 16-5 overall; 9-3 5A Front Range League (lost in regionals)
Returning Starters: Chase Esplin (Jr., OF/P), Tyler Lyons (Jr., SS/P), Macully Sehr (So., SS/2B/P)
Others to watch: Cale Claridge (So., 1B/P), Dylan Grierson (Sr., P/OF), Blake Labuda (Sr., C), Josh Maestas (Jr., 3B/P)
Outlook: Giordano says the Lightning is going to be a young group this spring, but the program also had a record 96 players out for weather-hindered preseason tryouts. Legacy lost its entire pitching staff to graduation last year but still has a number of highly competitive young arms that are excited about getting an opportunity. Expect this team to be strong defensively and to rely on manufacturing runs on offense to support its inexperienced pitching staff.
Coach: Tom Fobes (20th year)
Last year: 19-4 overall, 13-1 4A Northern League (went 0-2 at state tournament)
Returning starters: Kascen Deeter (Sr., SS), Chris Gumeson (Sr., OF/C), Devon Nowells (So., P/3B), Brady Renck (Sr., 2B), Grant Rulon (Sr., 1B/OF/ P)
Others to watch: Adam Benes (So., 3B/OF), Ryan James (Sr., P), Parker Lewis (Sr., P), Alec Northouse (So., IF/OF), Leif Nuesken (Sr., P)
Outlook: After winning 19 games and reaching the state tournament last spring, the Trojans graduated seven full-time starters. Longmont still landed at No. 4 the CHSAANow.com preseason rankings and returns its middle infield of Deeter and Renck, starting pitcher Nowells, and Rulon, who will most likely move from the outfield to first base. Those four have nine varsity seasons between them, and the younger players will have to rise up for the Trojans to meet their usual expectations — to compete each and every game, challenge for the conference title, and advance to the postseason.
LONGMONT CHRISTIAN WARRIORS
Coach: Colin Armstrong (first year)
Last year: 9-8 overall, 1-5 2A Mile High League (lost in state semifinals)
Returning starters: Rylee Dugan (Jr., P/IF), Wesley Dugan (So., OF), Tim Eldred (Sr., 2B), Christian Hudgins (Sr., RF/C), Tucker Kennedy (Jr., RF/1B), Kyle Saunders (So., SS/P), Lee Saunders (Jr., C), Caleb Schanafelt (So., CF), Ryan Shellenberger (Jr., OF/SS), Daniel Vrooman (So., LF)
Others to watch: Michael Cook (Jr., OF/1B), Jacob Dubryune (Fr., 2B/OF), Austin Szabo (Jr., 3B)
Outlook: The Longmont Christian Warriors made it to the state semifinals in Class 1A last season and they did it without a single senior of the roster. Dominic Puchino, who batted .532 with seven home runs as a sophomore last season and led the Warriors with a 1.99 ERA, transferred to Roosevelt. The Warriors also have a new coach in Colin Armstrong and they will be looking to restructure their club with a bunch of young players that gained valuable experience last spring.
Coach: Ken Rosales (seventh year)
Last year: 13-5 overall, 5-2 2A Mile High League (lost in first round of state tournament)
Returning starters: David Brett (Sr., P/2B/SS), Sam Glasgow (Sr., 1B/P)
Others to watch: Layton Brewer (Jr., C/P), Rafael Ruiz (C/OF/3B)
Outlook: The Lions made it all the way to state last spring but were still disappointed at not going any further than a first-round loss to Rocky Ford. They’ll be younger this season but still hope to advance similarly deep into the postseason as they did in 2018 despite a number of preseason question marks. Brewer should give the Lions a boost at pitcher and behind the plate, and Ruiz should also help out after transferring from Silver Creek. Graduation hit the Lions hardest in the pitching staff so their ability to find replacement arms will likely dictate their success.
Coach: Randy Click (third year)
Last year: 11-9 overall, 6-8 4A Tri-Valley League (lost in regionals)
Returning starters: Caleb Ayers (Sr. P/OF), Nick Jacobs (Jr., IF/P), Tanner Leise (Sr., OF), Ryan McDaniel (Sr., C), Brady Veltien (So., IF/P)
Outlook: After graduating a strong group that included all-state pitcher Brady Carstens, the Mavericks will have a young pitching staff. Ayers is the only returning hurler, but Click believes the potential is there with McDaniel returning as Mead’s starting catcher. With several starting spots still up for grabs, the Mavericks are looking to build off their first regional appearance and will be traveling to Arizona over spring break to face some good competition. It could end up being a challenging spring but Click said the Mavs are ready to prove they can handle the pressure of playing in the Tri-Valley League.
Coach: Scott Weiss (eighth year)
Last year: 13-7 overall, 9-3 5A Front Range League (lost in districts)
Returning starters: Dave Fish (Sr., C), Jake Given (Sr.,SS), Zack Given (Sr., P/OF), Ben Kowalski (Sr., 3B/P), Nate Leash (Jr., C), Luke Martin, (Sr., OF/1B/P)
Others to watch: Chase Phillips (Jr., 2B/P), Noah Messman (Sr., OF), Peter Nickerson (Jr., P), Sean Siedem (Jr., 1B)
Outlook: The Coyotes have some big shoes to fill on the mound after graduating Andrew Morris, the FRL Player of the Year. Senior Zack Given is looking to fill Morris’ role and become a top ace in the league. Monarch also has a pair of strong bats returning in Martin and Jake Given. With a strong core in the field and several outstanding juniors ready to fill starting position, the Coyotes’ biggest challenge will be overcoming injuries to two of their top three returning pitchers in Garcia and Nickerson, who will likely miss at least half the year. If Monarch can fill those lost innings, the Coyotes could very well be contenders in the FRL once again.
Coach: Adam Strah (second year)
Last year: 4-15 Overall, 2-12 4A Northern League
Returning starters: Felipe Castro (Jr., IF), Joey Desenfants (Sr., C/P), Aidan Galloway (Sr., OF/P), Taylor Goldfarb (So., IF), Will Smith (So., UTIL/P), Micah Sheats (So., OF/P)
Others to watch: Clay Kleespies (Jr., IF/P), Jaryd Meek (Sr., IF/P), Tim Stokes (Jr., IF), Ben Strid (Jr., OF/P)
Outlook: With six returning starters and still a lot of youth in the program, the Cougars look forward to building on what structure and foundation they constructed with this group last year. Niwot’s goal is to play a consistent seven innings every time out, and Smith should help with that after batting .410 as a freshman in 2018. The Cougars also don’t have many innings returning to their pitching staff, so developing consistency on the mound will be a key for the Niwot boys.
PEAK TO PEAK PUMAS
Coach: Matthew Castilleja (first year)
Last year: 15-8 overall, 8-4 3A Metro League (lost in state quarterfinals)
Returning starters: Andrew Bagnato (Jr., 2B/P), Riley Feddema (So., OF/P), Kade Gendreau (Sr., P/C), Max Higdon (Sr., P/CF) , Colton Nelson (Jr., OF/P), Isaac Nevadomski (Jr., P/1B), Nathan Poretz (Sr., C/1B), Garrett Shriver (Jr., P/SS), Isaac Van Tol (Sr., P/IF), Haydon Wilcox (Jr., 3B/P)
Others to watch: Sam Custard (So., OF), Dylan Hall (Jr., RF), Mason Rein (So., P), Zach Yeakley (So., OF)
Outlook: The Pumas have qualified for the state championships in each of the past two seasons and return an experienced group of guys to the dugout this spring. Led by a strong core of seniors, the Pumas will have their work cut out for them through a tough first-half schedule that includes perennial 3A contenders University and Eaton. Peak to Peak won 15 games in 2018, which was still just good enough to take third in the Metro League, and has designs on a league title in 2019.
PROSPECT RIDGE MINERS
Coach: Mark Knudson (third year)
Last year: 3-15 overall, 1-11 3A Metro League
Returning starters: Brandon Huffman (Sr., P/3B), Parker Licknosky (Sr., C), Austin Schaffer (Jr., OF), Jake Thiret (Sr., P/1B), Tennyson Young (So., 2B)
Others to watch: Andrew Van Otterloo (Jr., IF/P), Malachi Peterson (Jr., 1B/P)
Outlook: The Prospect Ridge Miners expect to be an improved club across the board, especially with all-conference players Thiret and Huffman returning. In particular, the Miners’ pitching should be much deeper and more consistent, and their defense should be more solid than it was throughout last spring’s three-win campaign. Van Otterloo and Schaffer will also aid an improved lineup for the Miners as they look to navigate a difficult Metro League schedule.
SILVER CREEK RAPTORS
Coach: Brad Steward (first year)
Last year: 9-10 overall, 7-7 Northern League
Returning starters: Charlie Belcher (Sr., P/OF), Charlie Jackson (Jr., OF), Declan Magill (Jr., IF), Rex Olinger (Sr., C), Tanner Regan (Sr., IF/P), Spencer Rich (Sr., OF), Justin Swenson (Sr., IF), Davin Vialpando (Jr., P/IF), Michael Wegleitner (Jr., P/IF)
Others to watch: Cameron Hassert (Jr., IF/P), Trevor Ordway (Sr., P/IF), Alex Rich (Jr., IF/P), Ryan Suess (Sr., P)
Outlook: The Raptors have a new coach and also bring back nine starters from last year’s team that did not qualify for the postseason, to which this year’s Silver Creek club hopes to return. Returning starting arms Wegleitner and Vialpando will anchor the Raptors’ pitching staff, which will be aided by transfer Cam Hassert and his defense. Seniors Rich, Olinger, Regan and Swenson are hoping to have a big spring at the plate and for the first time in several years, the program has plenty of depth. As always, the Raptors’ goal is to be playing their best baseball in May and June.
Coach: Travis Schlagel (fourth year)
Last year: 7-12 overall, 4-10 4A Tri-Valley League
Returning starters: Juan Chaparro (Sr., SS/3B), Ethan Drewes (Sr., P/1B/OF), Braeden Elwood (Jr., C), Lucas Hart (So., P/1B/OF), Nate McGregor (Sr., P/3B/OF)
Others to Watch: Grayden Bridwell (So., OF/SS), Will Drewes (Jr., P/3B/OF), Wynn Drewes (Fr., 2B/SS), Conner Scott (Sr., OF/P)
Outlook: It has been an excellent school year for Skyline athletics and the Falcons’ boys of spring are looking to build upon successful football and basketball seasons with multiple three-sport athletes out for baseball. Schlagel expects Skyline to be scrappy and solid defensively, and wants his club to compete and thrive in the hinge moments of this season’s games. Simply put, the Falcons’ offense has to improve this season if they hope to compete in the tough Tri-Valley League. In the past two seasons, the Falcons have started strong but struggled to finish but with several experienced returners, they expect to battle every game this spring.
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