The opening days of the high school baseball season returned with optimism and excitement at Broomfield High School — even as the familiar spring sounds of dirt crunching under cleats and gloves popping have temporarily been replaced by the shoveling of snow.
“We’re obviously ready to put down the shovels, start playing baseball. But we’re trying to make the most of it, bond with some of the new guys,” said senior catcher Camden Ross, whose team has been working to clear their field whenever possible.
This kind of crummy weather at the start of baseball season is something of a tradition in Colorado, with March being its snowiest month. But as always across the entire high school spring sports community, hopes are that this yearly ritual won’t last long.
That’s especially true inside the Eagles clubhouse, a talented team champing at the bit to get started. Even in flurries, its focus is unbothered.
“From where we finished last year, the goal is obviously to win state,” Ross said. “We had a great run last year and obviously came up short of what we wanted. The only way to go up from here is to win it all.”
At the outset, the Eagles boast a good bit of continuity along their roster. They have 15 seniors and nine returning varsity players from last season’s team, which reached 5A’s eight-team postseason.
Perhaps that’s one reason why they remain in the top 10 in the CHSAANow.com preseason coaches poll, checking in at No. 10.
The biggest change comes up top. Kale Gilmore, who was all-state in three sports at Broomfield from 1987-90, and was drafted into the MLB, takes over for longtime coach Garren Estes.
Gilmore has already had success as a skipper in leading the school’s softball program in three-plus seasons (postseason trips from 2018-present). He also served as an assistant under Estes, he said, for the past nine seasons.
With his direction, the Eagles have undergone a thorough offseason program since December, working on their games indoors while trying to get onto a diamond whenever possible.
“I’m just trying to keep them excited and keep them energized,” Gilmore said. “We know that day is going to come real soon where we got to go out and perform. But this year, more than any, I think it’s going to be one of those years where it’s not where you start but where you finish. It’s going to be a process.”
The prospect of it, though, looks good.
The Eagles ranked sixth in Class 5A in runs scored last season, plating 158 in 20 games. And returning from that lineup is Ross, the Wabash Valley College commit who was tied for second in home runs in the Front Range League (five), fourth in on-base percentage (.573) and was tied for 10th in RBIs (18).
Ryan Anderson, Gavin Speirs and Cole LaCrue also return for an offense that could be one of the strongest in the area.
As for pitching, the Eagles added the school’s former standout James Notary to their coaching staff. Notary, like Gilmore, was drafted into the MLB, and he had strong pitching stops at Broomfield, Texas Christian and Oral Roberts. His work with staff ace Garrett Klein has already seemingly had an effect.
“He was definitely a role model for me growing up and it’s awesome to be coached by him.” said Klein, who went 3-2 on the mound last season with a 4.27 ERA. “He obviously brings a lot of experience to the team. So as far as mechanical stuff, he has little bits and pieces that have helped me through my development this offseason. And mostly, I’d say it’s the mental game. He’s been through a lot of levels in his career and has seen a lot of highs and lows. So, he is helping me in terms of handling success and failure, and a lot of in-game mental stuff that I never thought about before.”
The baseball season will return to a full schedule after last year saw reduced games due to pandemic restrictions. The Eagles are slated to face Brighton in their home opener Tuesday.
Cream of the crop: 2021 BoCoPreps.com All-region team
First Team (Name, 2020-21 class, school )
C JD jones, Sr., Fairview; C Camden Ross, Jr., Broomfield; INF Adam Benes, Sr., Longmont; INF Nathan Churchich, Sr., Silver Creek; INF Jared Delgado, Jr., Holy Family; INF Devon Nowells, Sr., Longmont; INF Rafael Ruiz Jr., Jr., Lyons; INF Macully Sehr, Sr., Legacy; INF Gabe Springer, Jr., Fairview; OF Aaron Brakel, Sr., Broomfield; OF Lane Beumer, Jr., Mead; OF Greysen Carter, Sr., Fairview; OF Connor Cooney, Sr., Holy Family; OF Adam Moser, Sr., Fairview; OF Luke Silverman, Sr., Fairview; OF Sam Stem, Jr., Erie; DH Cale Claridge, Sr., Legacy; P Adam Brookes, Jr., Lyons; P Blake Hammond, Sr., Holy Family; P Lucas Hart, Sr., Skyline; P Justin Huffman, Sr., Prospect Ridge Academy; P Chase Prestwich, Sr., Frederick; P Izaak Siefken, Sr., Holy Family; P Conor Wolf, Jr., Dawson.
Milo Auslander-Padgham, Sr., Silver Creek; Andrew Baker, Sr., Jefferson Academy; Danny Barker, Jr., Longmont; Jack Brooker, Jr., Niwot; Jackson Canar, Sr., Skyline; Rocco Cassano, Jr., Prospect Ridge; Aidan Cauley, Sr., Monarch; Ryan Chacon, Sr., Holy Family; Ethan Dillinger, So., Erie; Caden English, Sr., Broomfield; Nick Farel, Sr., Prospect Ridge; Riley Feddema, Sr., Peak to Peak; Kieran Gaffney, Jr., Legacy; Ashtin Gilio, So., Dawson; Danny Gonzales-Hyde, Sr., Dawson; Vincent Hale, Sr., Mead; Nathan Hirsh, Jr., Centaurus; David Jachimiak, Sr., Centaurus; Garrett Klein, Jr., Broomfield; Mason Larkin, So., Jefferson Academy; Jack Lee, Sr., Monarch; Matt Lemberger, Sr., Prospect Ridge; Santiago Marquez, Sr., Monarch; Jacob Moats, So., Longmont; Connor Murray, Sr., Legacy; Danny O’Brien, Sr., Longmont; Holden Pantier, So., Erie; Travis Rasmussen, Sr., Fairview; Alex Rodriguez, Sr., Prospect Ridge; Brandon Sanchez, So., Legacy; Landen Sehr, Jr., Legacy; Trever Sengdara, Jr., Jefferson Academy; Bode Shiver, Sr., Lyons; Gavin Speirs, Jr., Broomfield; Sean Stevelinck, Sr., Lyons; Andrew Syverson, Jr., Holy Family; Tommy Valdes, Sr., Broomfield; Cole Walker, Sr., Legacy; Wyatt Waters, Fr., Lyons; Derek Woolwine, Jr., Boulder; Jackson Woolwine, Sr., Boulder; Tennyson Young, Sr., Prospect Ridge; Cruz Zamudio, So., Frederick.