League and team outlook
Front Range League
Teams and trends: Broomfield, Fairview, Fort Collins, Fossil Ridge, Greeley West, Horizon, Legacy, Loveland, Monarch, Mountain Range, Poudre, Rocky Mountain. Four different teams have either won the conference title outright or have shared the league title in the past five years (Fossil Ridge, Broomfield, Loveland, Legacy).
2018 league leaders: BA: Lauren Strathearn, Legacy, .626; Hits: Strathearn, Legacy, 62; HR: Laurin Krings, Loveland, 15*; RBI: Krings, Loveland, 48*; SB: Strathearn, Legacy, 32; SLG: Abigail Larsen, Poudre, 1.169*; W: Krings, Loveland, 22*; ERA: Krings, Loveland, 0.65*; K: Krings, Loveland, 392*.
Numbers game: No team in the FRL averaged 10 or more runs per game on offense, and with eight of the top 10 pitchers (by ERA) eligible to come back in 2019, it may happen again. Double-digit winners in from last season include Laurin Krings, Nikki McGaffin (Fossil Ridge) and Hannah Farley (Legacy). Jayden Mercado of Fossil Ridge hit .602 in a breakout campaign as a junior.
* Projected 2019 returning player.
Coach: Kale Gilmore
The Scorecard: Kale Gilmore stepped in as Eagles interim coach not too far into the 2018 season and got BHS to state. Now in the position full-time, Gilmore hopes that a team with eight returning starters, led by all-conference performers Hadlee Reichert and Linnea Baldner, can come together early. Getting back to state will require navigating through the competitive Front Range League, but that will also prepare them well for postseason play. With so many freshmen and sophomores playing last year, Gilmore hopes the experience will help them take another step this season to get back to state. Pitching will be the key as he said, “A young, deep pitching staff needs to develop and we hope to compete at the state tournament again this year.”
Coach: Miranda Christie
The Scorecard: The Knights were 7-4 in nonconference play and scored 89 runs in those 11 games. This year, the goal is to improve in the Front Range League from a 1-10 mark and just 24 runs scored in those games. Look for young players who saw significant playing time like Alexandra Kruzel and Kate Liston to build off what they did last year. “We have a lot of great athletes and plan to continue to grow exponentially as a team and as individuals,” Christie said.
Coach: Dawn Gaffin
The Scorecard: The Front Range League champions won 22 games and flourished for most of the season, but the team had a tough ending after getting upset by Legend in the quarterfinal round of the Class 5A state tournament. Defense and pitching carried Legacy as it allowed fewer than four runs per game on average. Top pitcher Hannah Farley is back and will be a key piece around the team this year. Add Kaitlyn Strachan, Alyssa Archuleta, Riley Olson, Micah Bernard and Samantha Conradie to the juniors coming back this season, and Legacy will have a veteran roster aiming for more.
Coach: Jason Reese
The Scorecard: Monarch missed out on a winning record and the postseason last year, despite having a senior-heavy roster. Many freshmen were called on to play last year and showed they could play right away — Tara Boehmler and Keira Sager hit over .400. Reese expects a young pitching staff to be anchored by Boehmler and hopes transfer student Jaidyn Studebaker can receive a waiver to play right away and help the staff that will also feature some talented freshmen.
Teams and trends: Centaurus, Greeley Central, Longmont, Mountain View, Niwot, Northridge, Silver Creek, Thompson Valley. At least two teams from the conference have made it to the state tournament in each of the past eight seasons.
League leaders: BA: Jetta Nannen, Silver Creek, .648; Hits: Kayla Harper, Silver Creek, 60; HR: Nannen, Silver Creek, 17; RBI: Nannen, Silver Creek, 72; SB: Harper, Silver Creek, 30; SLG: Makenna McVay, Thompson Valley, 1.405; W: Bailey Carlson, Mountain View, 17*; ERA: Maddie Kuehl, Silver Creek, 1.85*; K: Kennedy Michnewicz, Northridge, 118*.
Numbers game: Players in the Northern League can hit — 11 of them had a batting average over .500 and 26 were at .400 or better for the season, spread out amongst seven teams. Mountain View will lose a bit of pop in the lineup but should still hit well with Nya Chacon and Nicole Rogers projected to return. Northridge featured a young roster last year and will try to improve and climb the standings with Kennedy Michnewicz (pitching) and Halle Widler (offense).
* Projected 2019 returning player.
Coach: Jason Crispin
The Scorecard: When the Warriors offense was on, they were hard to contain. Centaurus scored 15 or more runs in four of their five wins, including 34 in a wild 34-30 win over Skyview to open the season last year. The lineup showed potential for pop in the bats with 52 hits for extra bases, highlighted by Paige Morton with 12 doubles and six home runs in her freshman season. Brianna Williams was another top freshman hitter for Centaurus, and add in Emma Caile, Rebecca Curbow and Lily Wright who also return. Crispin notes that the Northern League will be tough again this year, but more experience could help CHS climb the standings.
Coach: Kelsey Walters
The Scorecard: Keep an eye on Angeline Mitchell this year, a senior who will be one of the top players in the BoCoPreps region. In her junior season, she hit a team-best .481 with 38 RBIs and five home runs, and she was just as impressive in the circle where she went 15-7 and threw just under 120 innings with a 5.32 ERA. Some other key players to watch include Ayahna Bustamante, Kayla-Marie Gumeson, Katrina Sabol and Katie Alaniz. This core group will look to get Longmont back to the state tournament this season.
Coach: Bobby Matthews
The Scorecard: Having three hitters who hit over .500 back this year in Ayva McComas, Nikki Sims and Aliyah McComas, along with Esme O’Rourke (.427) and Reagan Willis (.482), the Niwot offense appears quite formidable. Matthews called last season a bounce-back year that the Cougars will try to build off. “We are still piecing things together as to where everyone is playing but we should be able to compete very well this season in the Northern conference,” he said.
Silver Creek Raptors
Coach: Ryan Beavers
The Scorecard: Silver Creek loses two players that hit over .600, but don’t expect the fireworks to be gone at the plate. The Raptors scored 389 runs and only allowed 72, making them one of the more complete teams on both sides last year. Maddie Kuehl should move to the top spot in the pitching rotation and is one of five hitters back for the Raptors that hit for a .400 batting average or better, along with Makayla Garcia and Jordan Fisher. Look for the Raptors to be one of the top teams in Class 4A again this season.
Teams and trends: Berthoud, Erie, Frederick, Holy Family, Mead, Roosevelt, Skyline, Windsor. Last season, Holy Family became the first state champion to come from the Tri-Valley League since Erie’s dominant run in the 2000’s ended with the Class 4A state title in 2010.
League leaders: BA: Samantha Powell, Skyline, .538*; Hits: Sarah Jorissen, Berthoud, 52; HR: Kat Sackett, Erie, 9*; RBI: Erin Caviness, Holy Family, 37; SB: Powell, Skyline, 25*; SLG: Jorissen, Berthoud, .928; W: Caviness, Holy Family, 21; ERA: Caviness, Holy Family, 1.98; K: Caviness, Holy Family (177).
Numbers game: What made the teams at the top of the league standings so competitive last year was the defense. Six of the top eight teams in the final league standings posted a fielding percentage of .908 or better for the season. Berthoud potentially returns a solid one-two punch in Natalie Fischer and Ashlynn Baliett that could help them challenge teams. One of the more underrated players in the league coming back is Skyline’s Samantha Powell, who led in batting average (.538) and stolen bases (25).
* Projected 2019 returning player.
Coach: Vanessa Smith
The Scorecard: Kat Sackett showed she could lead at the plate (.427 batting average, 34 RBIs, nine home runs) and work with a veteran pitching staff behind it. This year, her work behind the plate will be important as the Tigers lose top pitcher Maddie Leach. Still, the Tigers are projected to have plenty of talent back with Sackett, Kambry Fraser, Kaylee Armstrong and Madysun Vaughan to make a run to the state tournament.
Coach: Roger Dufour
The Scorecard: Youth and inexperience hurt Frederick last year and prevented FHS from reaching the postseason — an unusual feeling for the Warriors. Cleaning up the 92 defensive errors is one of the areas of focus for this year. The team is still young with underclassmen Kylie Mares, Haley Howell and Lauren Swenson working with veterans Jayden Horner, Peyton Gale and Abby Hazlett. Dufour wants to see growth from last season in order to reach the goal of returning to regionals in 2019.
Holy Family Tigers
Coach: Mitch Martinez
The Scorecard: The defending state champions in Class 4A lost some firepower in their lineup with the graduation of five seniors that hit .400 or better, but the team looks to have plenty of star power coming back and can reload from within to try and replace that power. Tyler Whitlock, Carly Eldredge, Abby Edwards and Anna Martinez all hit over .400 last year and return to anchor the lineup. Where the Tigers might be hit the hardest is losing star pitcher Erin Caviness, (21-1, 1.98 ERA); Cassidy Chvatal threw the second most innings last year with 36 2/3.
Coach: Amanda Macaluso
The Scorecard: After scoring an upset of Conifer in a regional tournament opening round, Mead came one win short of reaching the Class 4A state tournament last year. The fire should be burning for a team that was young overall. Faith Hale was one of the top RBI producers in the Tri-Valley League last year, and there were 20-plus RBIs for Veronica Elsis, Dani Garcia and Savannah Greibling. The question this season is if the same group can get back to a regional tournament and take the next step that weekend.
Coach: Pam Arnold
The Scorecard: There’s nowhere to go but up for the Falcons after a trying 2018 season. Samantha Powell was a bright spot with her .538 batting average, and Katie Archer (.321) and Aspen Leonhardt (.438) fared well with the bat. Skyline stole 94 bases to help try and manufacture runs last year, but the team was only able to put up 95 runs for the season. The Tri-Valley League is once again loaded with talent, which will make it just as hard for the Falcons to get some traction on the season.
4A/3A Colorado 7 League
Teams and trends: Alameda, Arvada, Boulder, Conifer, Fort Lupton, Englewood, Riverdale Ridge, Skyview, Weld Central. Since joining the Colorado 7 League in 2016, Conifer has not lost a league game (32-0).
League leaders: BA: Adie Brake, Conifer, .628*; Hits: Brake*, Conifer and Drew Sims, Conifer, 49; HR: Josey Nichols, Conifer, 8*; RBI: Nichols, Conifer, 50*; SB: Chloe Candelaria, Alameda, 39*; SLG: Sarye Lopez, Alameda, 1.161; W: Kaybri Cook, Weld Central, 16*; ERA: Maggie Swank, Englewood, 2.36; K: Aiyana Bravo, Fort Lupton, 175.
Numbers game: The conference did go 63-76 in nonconference games as a whole and were represented at the state tournament by Fort Lupton in the 3A bracket. Adie Brake may be the toughest out in the entire league after hitting .628 for Conifer, who will be the preseason favorites to win the league yet again. Weld Central has been to the state tournament before and could be the toughest challenge for the league title with pitcher Kaybri Cook potentially returning after winning 16 games her freshman year.
* Projected 2019 returning player.
Coach: Courtney Geib
The Scorecard: Boulder allowed 382 runs in 2018, averaging out to more than 16 runs per game. Continuing to develop the pitching staff and improve on defense will be a top priority for the Panthers to see more progress. Fabiola Longoria threw the most innings and will be joined by Lizbeth Garcia hitting at the plate. Geib also believes some new players will come in and provide a spark to the program this fall.
Teams and trends: Faith Christian, Jefferson, Peak to Peak, Platte Canyon, Sheridan, The Academy. After a down year where the six league teams scored 865 total runs (144 per team average) in 2017, the league saw the offense explode for 1,240 runs (206 per team average) last season, keeping up with the recent pace of high-scoring the teams have shown.
League leaders: BA: Cordelia Hanger, The Academy, .848*; Hits: Hanger, The Academy, 56*; HR: Abrianah McGaw, Faith Christian, 6; RBI: Lilly Patillo, The Academy, 44; SB: McKenzie Connor, Faith Christian, 43; SLG: Patillo, The Academy, 1.550; W: Connor, Faith Christian, 14; ERA: Hanger, The Academy, 1.35*; K: Jamie Rader, Peak to Peak, 139*.
Numbers game: The top hitter in the state last year was The Academy’s Cordelia Hanger, who finished with an unprecedented .848 batting average going 56-of-66. Faith Christian will rely on a new pitching staff this year after losing McKenzie Connor and Ashley Evans, who were third and fourth in the league in ERA in 2018. Faith Christian, The Academy and Peak to Peak should compete for the top spots while younger teams in Sheridan, Platte Canyon and Jefferson try to catch up.
* Projected 2019 returning player.
Peak to Peak Pumas
Coach: Brandin Becher
The Scorecard: Two of the top hitters in the BoCoPreps region by batting average were Alyssa Alvarez (.632, 35 RBIs) and Jamie Rader (.600, 23 RBIs). Rader was also the top pitcher in the rotation and should assume that role this year. Peak to Peak was able to challenge for third place in their league and qualify for a regional tournament. With a handful of experienced players back to join their top two hitters, the Pumas hope that will equate to more wins and another shot at the postseason.
Teams and trends: Brush, Eaton, Lyons, Platte Valley, Sterling, Strasburg, University, Valley. Strasburg has either won or played for the state title in Class 3A in each of the past seven years (5-2 record in championship games).
League leaders: BA: Rylyn Nelson, Sterling, .667*; Hits: Delaney Wieneke, University, 62*; HR: Nelson, Sterling, 15*; RBI: Jennifer Jarnigan, Eaton, 65*; SB: Remington Ross, Eaton, 50*; SLG: Nelson, Sterling, 1.481*; W: Keylee Kern, University, 15*; ERA: Alexis Rayburn, Strasburg, 1.77; K: Rayburn, Strasburg, 198.
Numbers game: 3A District 3 has been the toughest conference over the years and usually sends the most teams to state. Last year, five of the 16 teams came from the conference, four of the five won at least one game, and the championship game saw Strasburg defeat Eaton 3-0. Despite losing head coach Michelle Woodard, Strasburg should have plenty of talent coming back from last year’s championship team in Ashlyn Richardson and Darian Riggs. Eaton, who defeated Strasburg in the regular season, could challenge with Jennifer Jarnigan and Jaymie Woody at the plate, but must replace their top two pitchers.
* Projected 2019 returning players.
Coach: Sean Lynch
The Scorecard: Lynch had high praise for his team’s expectations this season, feeling Lyons will be the best it has been in recent years. The Patriot League features many of the top teams in the state, and coupled with a number of games against teams in higher classifications the Lions will be battle tested yet again this year. Hannah Paton and Hannah Schweiger were two of the top hitters in the lineup and leading pitcher Shantel Koester will also return this fall. Incoming freshmen Raeana Ortiz and Brooklyn Enny should boost a team that is still young, but one that could become a contender as well.
Cream of the crop: 2018 BoCoPreps.com All-region team
First Team (Name, 2018-19 class, school )
C Kat Sackett, Jr., Erie; INF Peyton Allen, Sr., Monarch; INF Kayla Harper, Sr., Silver Creek; INF Jetta Nannen, Sr., Silver Creek; INF Sloane Quijas, Sr., Erie; INF Erin Winters, Sr., Holy Family; OF Tori Dufour, Sr., Frederick; OF Anna Martinez, Jr., Holy Family; OF Lauren Strathearn, Sr., Legacy; OF Angeline Mitchell, Jr., Longmont; DH Logan Taylor, Sr., Legacy; UTIL Maddie Kuehl, So., Silver Creek; P Erin Caviness, Sr., Holy Family; P Hannah Farley, Jr., Legacy.
Alyssa Alvarez, So., Peak to Peak, OF; Linnea Baldner, So., Broomfield, OF; Ayahna Bustamante, Jr., Longmont, SS; Zoe Callicoatt, Sr., Fairview, INF; Sami Conradie, Jr., Legacy, C; Gabby Cook, Sr., Fairview, C; Abby Edwards, Fr., Holy Family, C; Makayla Garcia, Jr., Silver Creek, 1B; Noelle Gardon, Jr., Holy Family, SS; Faith Hale, Sr., Mead, 3B; Morgan Hernandez-Belew, Sr., Legacy, 2B; Maddie Leach, Sr., Erie, P; Ayva McComas, Fr., Niwot, Util.; Samantha Powell, So., Skyline, C; Jamie Rader, So., Peak to Peak, P/INF; Hadlee Reichert, So., Broomfield, SS; Sara Rode, Sr., Holy Family, 2B; Hannah Schweiger, So., Lyons, Util.; Lucy Scott, Sr., Silver Creek, 3B; Nikki Sims, Jr., Niwot, OF; Payton Thomas, Sr., Monarch, P; Brooke Wager, Sr., Silver Creek, C; Jen Williams, Jr., Erie, Util.