Gazette Preps baseball 2018 preview capsules

Photo - Air Academy's courtesy runner Micah Bregard heads back safely to first base in the sixth inning. Eventually in the inning, Bregard stole third and ran home to score. The Air Academy baseball team became league champions with a win over Lewis-Palmer 7-3 at Air Academy High School on Thursday, May 4, 2017. Photo by Jerilee Bennett, The Gazette
Air Academy's courtesy runner Micah Bregard heads back safely to first base in the sixth inning. Eventually in the inning, Bregard stole third and ran home to score. The Air Academy baseball team became league champions with a win over Lewis-Palmer 7-3 at Air Academy High School on Thursday, May 4, 2017. Photo by Jerilee Bennett, The Gazette



Coach: Trevor Stewart, second year

Last year: 13-7 (5A CSML)

Returning starters: C/INF Beau Chauvin, jr.; C/INF Parker Martin, jr.; SS Bryce McKee, jr.; INF Issiah Sisneros, sr.; 1B/OF Tucker Travins, jr.; UTIL Graehame Webb, so.

Outlook: "Seeing our student-athletes growth and daily improvement, as well as building relationships and becoming a tighter knit family," Stewart said.

Notes: The Cougars captured their first winning season in four years in 2017.


Coach: Mike Berkey, fourth year

Last year: 6-13 (4-8 5A CSML)

Returning starters: OF/P Lucas Colvin, jr.; OF Jordon Cornielson, jr.; C/INF Randy Good, sr.

Other top players: C/INF David Cooper, fr., OF/P Jordan McDonald, so.

Outlook: "We will be pretty young overall, having to replace all infield positions except catcher and corner outfield spots," Berkey said. "With the youth and returners, we should be competitive."

Notes: Having up to three freshmen on the roster is a challenge the coaching staff is looking forward to.

Fountain-Fort Carson

Coach: Andrew Johnson, second year

Last year: 11-8 (5A CSML)

Returning starters:  UTIL Will Shelton, sr.; 1B/3B Jarren Sly, sr.; C Rayn Stratton, sr.;  OF Brody Stegman, sr.; P Cody Spears, jr.

Other top players: 3B/SS Nate Lengemen, jr.; P/1B Garret Thibault, jr.

Outlook: "We have a lot of veterans players coming back this season," Johnson said. "Defensively we can compete with any team in the league and I believe we will be able to put up a lot of runs at the plate."

Notes: For the second straight season, the Trojans are using two new turf baseball fields as Johnson said "it is one of the best baseball complexes in the state with state-of-the-art turf and lights for night games."


Coach: Austin Watson, third year

Last year: 4-13 (4-8 Colorado Springs Metro League)

Returning starters: 3B/P Marty Clift, sr.; C Sean Conboy, sr.; P/OF Bryce Eisenreich, jr.; P/1B/OF Spencer Flood, sr.; CF/P Ben Lake, sr.;  2B Danny Rice, sr.

Other top players: OF/P Brogan Bishop, sr.; SS/2B/P Austin Franco, jr.;  SS Cale Kline, sr.; OF/P Matt Lively, sr.; 3B/P Chris Smith, jr.

Outlook: "Team is highly motivated and excited for the season," Watson said. "Ready to make a change for Liberty High baseball. We have a lot of hidden talent that just needs to come out so we can show everyone."

Notes: The Lancers have had one winning season in the past five years.


Coach: Steve Collier, 1st year

Last year: 5-14 (3-9 5A CSML)

Returning starters: SS Justin Briggs, sr.; INF Tariq Bustamante, sr.; C/OF Mason Collier, sr.

Other top players: INF Xavier Burns, sr.; INF/C Justin Chappell, so.; P Cale Fields, jr.; INF Kevin Hernandez, so.; INF Alfayad Khan, sr.; OF Matt New, jr.;

Outlook: "Although we are young," Collier said, "it is exciting to have a bunch of kids eager to learn and grow as (ballplayers)."

Pine Creek

Coach: Gleen Millhauser, 10th year

Last year: 13-7 (12-0 CSML)

Returning starters: P/SS Riley Cornelio, jr.; P/OF Parker Gregory, jr.; OF Zach Heisler, sr.; OF Cade Kleckner, sr.;P/2B Kyle Moran, jr.; P/1B Justin Olson, sr.; P/OF Jay Onken, sr.; 3B Grant Wilkinson, jr.

Other top players: C Braden Dedrick, jr.; 3B/OF Evan Faucher, jr.; C/SS Drake Logan, jr.

Notes: Five players -- Onken (Utah), Olson (Kentucky), Heisler (Towson State), Cornelio (TCU) and Gregory (Wichita State) -- who have committed or signed with a Division I program.


Coach: Jake Huard, first year

Last year: 4-15 (3-9 5A CSML)

Returning starters:  3B/P Michael Bishop, sr.; C/OF Austin Brady, sr.; P Jack Derbique, sr.; SS Caden Jones, sr.; CF/P Brio Rookey, sr.

Other top players: INF/P Michael Ramos, jr.; INF/P Brandon White, jr.; P Taylor Zaiger, jr.

Outlook: "We have a core group of seniors returning this season that have shown incredible leadership and commitment," Huard said. "We have worked very hard and our players have shown tremendous dedication in the offseason, so I am excited to see these guys put it all together this spring."

Notes: Three members of the coaching staff are Rampart graduates -- Jake Huard, Ken Huard and Nate Zelasko.


Air Academy

Coach: Ron Gorr (first year)/Bob Wingett (first year)

Last year: 19-6 (11-3 4A/5A Pikes Peak Athletics Conference)

Returning starters: P/SS Micah Bregard, sr.; P/OF Grant Shandy, jr.

Other top players:  C Kane Daniluk jr.; 3B/P Grant Dudden, jr.; INF/P Bo Powers, jr.; OF/P Ethan Yanez, jr.

Outlook: "Young but talented group of players looking to prove themselves at the varsity level," Gorr said. "Two solid returning pitchers."

Notes: Two new varsity coaches are taking over a program that won back-to-back PPAC titles and made appearances in Final 8 and Final 4 during the past two state tournaments.

Canon City

Coach: Tim Ritter, 19th year

Last year: 15-5 (8-0 4A CSML)

Returning starters: UTIL/P Lincoln Andrews, jr.; UTIL/P Zac Hanenberg, sr.; 3B/P Kadin Porter, sr.;

Outlook: "We graduated eight seniors who all had major roles," Ritter said. "We have small senior and junior classes, so we will need our young kids to step up and fill a lot of positions."

Notes: The Tigers have captured the 4A CSML title the past three seasons.

Cheyenne Mountain

Coach: Mark Swope, 21st year

Last year: 15-6 (9-5 4A/5A PPAC)

Returning starters: 3B Aaron Berkhoff, jr.; INF/P Cam Buckler, so.OF AJ Carpenter, sr.;OF Jack Denker, sr; INF/P Michael Ellis, so.; INF Chase McCleary, sr.; 

Outlook: "We graduated five starters from last year's 15-win team," Swope said. "Our younger kids will be pushed into some key roles this year."

Notes: The Indians opened last season with 10 straight wins.

Discovery Canyon

Coach: Justin Ross, first year

Last year: 9-10 (8-6 4A/5A PPAC)

Returning starters: P Gabe Arias, sr.; P Jaden Boles, sr.; CF Caleb Groteluschein, sr.; 3B Brad King, sr.; C Mark Reyes, sr.

Notes: Thunder are a senior-heavy team that aims to improve from last year.


Coach: Matthew Jones, fourth year

Last year: 1-18 (0-8 4A CSML)

Returning starters: INF Jony G. Gonzalez, sr.; C Tim Hoagland, sr.; OF/P Justin Maynes, sr.; 

Other top players: SS/P Xavier Casarez, so.; OF Levi Diaz, jr.; 1B Chris Nichols, jr.;

Outlook:  "We're excited to see the progress we've made as a team since last year," Jones said. "We're trying to get better every year in order to soon be competitive in our league."


Coach: Brett Lester, third year

Last year: 11-9 (8-6 4A/5A PPAC)

Returning starters: OF Johnny Behm, jr.; 1B/P Brady Choban, sr.; OF JT Grizzell, sr.; P Jackson Rorex, sr.; P/3B Jason Shuger, jr.;  C/UTIL Colton Stegman,jr.;

Other top players: SS Hayden Ambuehl, so.

Outlook:  "The chemistry of the team and the potential they have," Lester said.

Notes: The Rangers have had a winning record in the past five years.

Sand Creek

Coach: Ed Nelson, third year

Last year: 2-17 (4A/5A PPAC)

Returning starters: C Wyatt Chapman, sr.; OF Quinton Clark, sr.; 2B/SS Daxton Dawson, jr.; SS Nathan Gipprich, sr.; 1B Issiah Hernandez, sr.; OF/P Ryan Scaggs, sr.

Outlook: Nelson said he's excited about his returning starters.


Coach: John Sanchez, eighth year

Last year: 8-11 (5-3 4A CSML)

Returning starters: C/P/INF Dylan Campbell sr.; 1B/P Elijah Clark, sr.; SS/P Isaiah Grima, sr.; P/OF/1B Brennan Heitz, sr.; C/INF/P Reece Lieby, sr.; 2B/SS/P Dylan Marks, sr.; CF/P/1B Brandon Parrott, sr.;  OF/P Matt Price, sr.;

Other top players:  P/OF/1B Axel Jensen, jr.; C/INF Cameron Lucas jr.; OF/1B/P Kyle Wilson, sr.

Outlook: "As with every new season, it's a clean slate, a new start, you leave last season behind," Sanchez said. "We hope to be starting a lot of seniors this season. And as with high school baseball, you never know what to expect, so as a coach you are always challenged and that makes the game fun and exciting. You finally get to see all of the hard work the players put in, in the off season."

Notes: The Gladiators are looking to finish with their first overall winning record since 2013.


Colorado Springs Christian School 

Coach: Tom Flannery, second year

Last year: 3-16 (3A Tri-Peaks West League)

Returning starters: OF Kade Allen, sr.; C/P/INF Matt Johnson, jr.;  1B Ben Wester, jr.

Other top players: P/INF Hunter McWilliams, fr.; C Joe Washburn, fr.; P/INF Ben Washburn, fr.; P/INF Brian Youn, fr.

Outlook: "I have a lot of young talent that will make an impact on our season," Flannery said.

Notes: The Lions are looking for their first winning season since 2016.

Manitou Springs

Coach: Brandon DeMatto, first year

Last year: 12-7 (7-1 TPL West)

Returning starters: 2B Joey Allen, so.; INF/OF/P James Baker, sr.; 1B/DH Ryan Kosley, sr.; OF/P Christian Mack, jr.; 3B/OF/P Hunter Zentz, jr.

Other top players: C/P Stephen Gentzel, jr.

Outlook: "As a program, top to bottom, we are raw and lack experience," DeMatto said. "We have two returning seniors, only four guys that have played in 10 or more varsity baseball games, and a first year head coach. These circumstances present a great challenge for everyone involved. I'm excited for that challenge and thrilled to see how our kids and our staff commit, daily, to developing habits of excellence that will produce success in the community, in the classroom and on the field."

Notes: The Mustangs have had a winning season since 2013.

St. Mary's

Coach: Bill Percy, 43 coaching seasons

Last year: 13-7 (7-2 Tri-Peaks East League)

Returning starters: SS/2B/P Seth Chambless, sr., 1B Matt Haines, sr.; OF/P Josh White, jr.

Other top players: C/INF Nick Baca, jr.; OF/P Sam Baldwin, jr.; INF/P Edwin Romo, jr.;

Outlook: Percy said he is excited about "a number of young and upcoming (ballplayers) who matured well over the summer season."

Notes: The Pirates have boasted a winning record for the past seven seasons 



Coach: Donovan Mitchell, fifth year

Last year: 11-7 (5-5 2A District 8)

Returning starters: P/OF Jacob Bolduc, sr; P/SS Eddie Glaser, jr.; P/UTIL Terryn Price, sr.; OF/INF Riley Riggs, jr.

Other top athletes: DH/1B Gage Alexander, jr.; P/UTIL Brayden Dillingham, jr.; INF Logan Glaser, fr.; C Joe Hayes, jr.; UTIL Tyler Hessek, jr.; INF Karson Parker, jr.

Outlook: "We aim to build on the success and momentum from last season and compete for a top stop in our district," Mitchell said.

Notes: The Bulldogs finished last season with a winning record for the first time in three years.

Evangelical Christian Academy

Coach: Bob DeRuiter, 13th year

Last year: 16-6 (8-2 2A District 8 League)

Returning starters: 2B/P Ben DeRuiter, sr.; INF/OF Jacob Kim, sr.; C Zach Perry, sr.; P/1B Daniel Perry, jr.; OF/INF, OF/INF Cameron Rawlings, sr.

Other top players: INF/P Andrew DeRuiter, so.

Outlook: We look forward to building on our success from last year," Bob DeRuiter said. "We have a solid core group returning, so if they step up into a leadership role and we have others step up into open positions, we should do well."

Notes: This is the Eagles' last season in Class 2A before they move down to 1A during the next two seasons.

Note: Schools not listed did not report.