High school baseball capsules for 2017 season

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Photo - Doherty defeated Fountain Ft. Carson 3-2 in 12 innings at Fountain Ft. Carson on Tuesday, April 19, 2016. (photo by Jerilee Bennett/The Gazette)
Doherty defeated Fountain Ft. Carson 3-2 in 12 innings at Fountain Ft. Carson on Tuesday, April 19, 2016. (photo by Jerilee Bennett/The Gazette)

5A CSML

Coronado

Coach: Trevor Stewart (first season)

Last year: 4-15

Key players: None listed.

Outlook: Stewart takes over a team that finished 11 games under .500.

Doherty

Coach: Mike Berkey (third season)

Last year: 9-11, lost in district semifinal

Key players: 2B Zach Bosler, sr.; LF Lucas Colvin, so.; 1B Tony Goodman, sr.

Outlook: Berkey has six starters back from last year's squad that started 0-4 but improved throughout the season and finished third in the league standings, advancing to the district playoffs. The Spartans have plenty of offense, headlined by Goodman, who batted .302 with two home runs and 15 RBIs, and Bosler, who hit .368. Pitching and depth on the bench could hold Doherty back.

Liberty

Coach: John Londo (second season)

Last year: 10-9, lost in district semifinal

Key players: SS Tyler Fischer, sr.; C Stewart Manning, sr.; UTIL Jacob Robertson, sr.; 3B Marty Clift, so.; CF Ben Lake.

Outlook: With Fischer as the only returning varsity player – he was the only non-senior on the 2016 squad – the Lancers are hoping seniors Manning and Robertson can add some leadership as the younger players develop.

Rampart

Coach: Daniel Jackson (third season)

Last year: 5-13

Key players: SS Caden Jones, jr.; C/RF Austin Brady, jr.; P/C/1B Jack Derbique, jr.

Outlook: The Rams enter a youth movement in 2017 with only one senior, and Jackson has high hopes for his young team. Jones offered a glimpse of his upside in 2016 as a sophomore, batting .326 with eight RBIs.

Palmer

Coach: Mike Hagen (10th season)

Last year: 10-10, lost in district semifinal

Key players: P/OF Jordan Chappell, sr.; P/SS Justin Briggs, jr.; OF/P Matt Borgman, sr.; 2B Troy Montague, sr.; C Mason Collier, jr.; P/C Ethan Taylor Sanford, sr.

Outlook: The Terrors broke a 20-year postseason drought in 2016 and hope to add to that momentum by improving their offense around a solid pitching staff. Borgman hit .382, while Briggs knocked in a team-high 16 runs and earned three wins on the mound with two complete games. Chappell was one of the Metro League's best pitchers with a 6-1 record and 2.86 earned run average

Pine Creek

Coach: Glenn Millhauser (seventh season)

Last year: 18-3, lost in district final

Key players: P/OF/1B Toby Scoles, sr.; P/OF Jay Onken, P/1B Justin Olson, SS/P Riley Cornelio, so.; OF/2B Cade Kleckner, jr.; P/OF Randy Gregory, so.

Outlook: Although the Eagles lost a talented senior class to graduation in 2016, there are plenty of reasons to be excited about this season and beyond. Onken had a monster season as a sophomore, batting .538 with eight home runs and 36 RBIs along with a 5-0, 1.91 ERA stat line on the mound. Olson, another sophomore last year, went 3-0 with a 1.27 ERA along with a .409 batting average that included nine home runs and 27 RBIs. And both of them are just getting started. And Scoles, the only returning senior starter, batted .449 and had 14 extra-base hits.

 

4A CSML

Cañon City

Coach: Tim Ritter (20th season)

Last year: 18-3, lost in district final

Key players: OF Michael Green, sr.; OF Jarett Koch, sr.; 1B Michael Hawver, sr.; P Luke Nethercot, sr.; 3B Kadin Porter, jr.; SS Zach Hanenberg, jr.

Outlook: The Tigers roared through the regular season and hosted the district tournament but fell to Air Academy just one game shy of the state tournament. Ritter wants this year's team be more prepared, so he bulked up on his nonleague schedule in hopes of doing that. Canon City has the bulk of its team back, led by Nethercot, who hit .353 last season and went 3-0 on the mound, striking out 41 batters in 24 innings. Porter shared the team lead in RBIs with 19 and also batted .479, and Green drove in 11 runs to help the offensive cause.

Harrison

Coach: Matthew Jones (third season)

Last year: 0-16

Key players: CF/P Justin Maynes, jr.; C/2B Tim Hoagland, jr.

Outlook: Maynes and Hoagland were two of the bright spots from a long season, registering batting averages of .304 and .250, respectively. While a lack of experience will hurt the Panthers, Jones has seen plenty of enthusiasm and an overall willingness to learn.

Mitchell

Coach: Todd Hall (first season)

Last year: 5-14

Key players: None listed

Outlook: The Marauders continue to make strides in two seasons since going winless, but for the third year in a row will have a new coach at the helm.

Sierra

Coach: Robert Bentley (first season)

Last year: 2-15

Key players: C/P/OF Brock Girling, sr.; P/1B Adrian Montes, sr.; SS/P Rico Vallejos, sr.

Outlook: The team is built around four-year starters Girling (.455 batting average), Montes (.471, 11 RBIs) and Vallejos (.357) as Bentley returns to the Sierra program for his third season following a two-year hiatus to work on his master's degree.

The Classical Academy

Coach: Cory Monroe (first season)

Last year: 15-5, lost to Palisade in district semifinal

Key players: SS John Bull, jr.; CF Brandon Luft, jr.; P Noah Lasecki, so.; P/OF Sawyer Weeks, sr.

Outlook: The Titans are coming off one of their best seasons in school history - only one other time had they hit 15 wins - but will have a much different look in 2017 following the graduation of 12 seniors and departure of coach Bart Jennings. Bull was a first-team all-league selection after batting .549 with a team-high 30 RBIs, while Luft hit .422 as a sophomore. Weeks, the top returning pitcher, only appeared in 15 2-3 innings last season. TCA's nonleague schedule is tough and includes Palmer Ridge, Cheyenne Mountain, Lewis-Palmer, Doherty and Rampart.

Widefield

Coach: John Sanchez (seventh season)

Last year: 7-12

Key players: P Deon Clair, sr.; P Brennan Heitz, jr.; P Bryce Lieby, jr.; C Reece Lieby, jr.; P/OF Dylan Marks, jr.; INF Isaiah Grima, jr.

Outlook: Sanchez likes the potential of his team's pitching staff with four returning letter-winners with previous varsity experience. Marks made the most of his 28 plate appearances, getting 19 hits for a .679 average, and Grima (.434 with one home run and 14 RBIs) and Bryce Lieby (.340, 12 RBIs) helped power the offense.

Woodland Park

Coach: Neil Levy (second season)

Last year: 12-7

Key players: 2B Sam Levy, sr.; P/SS/OF Connor Elliott, jr.; 1B Mac McClintock, sr.

Outlook: Levy, the mayor of Woodland Park, had a successful first season but it didn't extend beyond the regular season. The Panthers seem poised to improve with four senior returning starters and experience on the mound. McClintock hit .428 with two home runs, while Elliott is expected to lead the pitching staff after registering a 2.74 ERA in 30 2-3 innings a season ago.

 

4A PPAC

Air Academy

Coach: Doug Goldberg (third season)

Last year: 16-7, advanced to 4A state tournament

Key players: SS Josh Dudden, sr.; P James Verlinde, sr.; 1B Kyle Chasse, sr.

Outlook: The Kadets will have to replace a lot of offense and pitching from last year's squad that reached the state tournament and won the league title for the first time since 2012. It'll start with Dudden, a two-time all-league shortstop who batted .362 with two home runs and 13 RBIs a season ago, and Chasse, who knocked in 10 runs and hit .345. With top-line pitchers Brady Hansen and Mark Singleton gone to graduation, Verlinde, who went 5-0 with a 2.74 ERA in 2016, steps in to the top spot.

Cheyenne Mountain

Coach: Mark Swope (eighth season)

Last year: 8-11

Key players: SS Christian Buckler, sr.; LHP/1B Matthew Smith, sr.; OF Ryan Schneider, sr.; 2B Chase McCleary, jr.

Outlook: The Indians are looking to break a three-season playoff drought, and have the pieces to get back and make a run in 2017. Smith struck out 32 batters in 44 1-3 innings en route to a 4-2 record, leading the pitching staff in wins. Buckler banged out a team-best four home runs with 16 RBIs, while McCleary batted .366, tops among returning letter-winners.

Lewis-Palmer

Coach: Brett Lester (second season)

Last year: 15-6, lost in district final

Key players: SS Billy Cook, sr.

Outlook: Cook had an offensive year to remember in 2016, batting .603 (41 of 68) with three home runs and 33 RBIs. Now that all-state player Paul Tillotson has graduated, it's Cooks' team to lead, on offense anyway. He'll get help from fellow seniors Kevin Tims (.312 last season) and Iain Fraser (.318) along sophomore Colton Stegman (.375). The Tillotson-less pitching staff will be the teams' biggest question mark.

Sand Creek

Coach: Ed Nelson (third season)

Last year: 2-17

Key players: SS Nathan Gipprick, jr.; OF Brady Sides, jr.; OF Quinton Clark, jr.; C Wyatt Chapman, jr.; 2B Daxton Dawson, so.

Outlook: It's been a rough ride for the Scorpions, who have gone winless in league play the past two seasons. Still, Nelson likes his team's depth and skill on defense. Clark had a standout season as a sophomore in 2016, hitting .400 with five stolen bases.

Vista Ridge

Coach: Carter Gerber (first season)

Last year: 6-13

Key players: 2B Justin Risdall, sr.; P/3B Danny Metts, sr.

Outlook: The Wolves move up to 5A and do so under the direction of 21-year-old Carter Gerber, a 2014 Coronado graduate who led the Vista Ridge junior varsity program last season following an elbow injury that ended his collegiate playing career at Kankakee (Ill.) Community College. The Wolves have not won more than six games in a season in school history, something Gerber hopes to change, as early as this year.

 

3A TRI-PEAKS

CSCS

Coach: Tom Flannery (fourth season overall, first as head coach)

Last year: 13-7, lost in district final

Key players: P/INF Quinn Stowell, sr.; P/INF Daniel Burton, sr.; INF Justin Johnson, sr.; C/INF Matt Johnson, so.

Outlook: Flannery inherits a Lions team that was one win away from reaching the 3A state tournament last May. Departed seniors left gaping holes in an offense that batted .337 as a team, but have returning starters Johnson (.353 with 20 RBIs) and Stowell (.406, one home run and 10 RBIs) ready to take charge. On the mound, Burton and Stowell, who combined to pitch in only 33 innings last year, will be counted on to be the workhorses.

Manitou Springs

Coach: Cory Archuleta (third season)

Last year: 17-10, lost in state championship game

Key players: SS/P Davyn Adamscheck, sr.; P Sean Whalen, sr., C Lucas Culver, sr.

Outlook: Despite falling to Faith Christian in the state championship game, the Mustangs had their most successful season in school history and have five starters and plenty of experienced players to make the trip back. Adamscheck, a two-time all-state selection, batted .514 last season, while Whalen led the team with 32 RBIs. Replacing its two most experienced pitchers and leadoff batter will be the Manitou's biggest concerns.

Florence

Coach: Shane Reeves (ninth season)

Last year: 2-15

Key players: P/OF Konnor Regan, sr.; SS Dominic Bellino, sr.; P/3B Austin Templeton, so.; C Jacob Rutherford, so.; DH Jeremiah Speers, jr.

Outlook: Many of the returning Huskies were pressed into action last season due to a variety of factors, and Reeves believes "they will benefit over the next couple of years and become very good players due to their baptism by fire." That improvement will have to start on offense, where the Huskies batted only .189 as a team last season. Bellino leads the way among the returning letter-winners after hitting .244 in 2016.

St. Mary's

Coach: Bill Percy (11th season)

Last year: 17-7, advanced to state tournament

Key players: C TJ English, sr.; P/INF Jacob Brummel, sr.; INF/P Gavin Sturtevant, jr.

Outlook: Last season, the Pirates put it all together, advanced to the state tournament and finished fifth. And with a majority of starters back, they'll look to improve on that result. English batted .475 in 2016 and led the team with 33 RBIs, while Brummel added 23 RBIs and a 5-5 mark on the mound that included 52 strikeouts in 49 innings. Sturdevant chipped in with a .329 clip at the plate.

 

2A DISTRICT 8

Calhan

Coach: Donovan Mitchell (fourth season)

Last year: 7-11, lost in district tournament

Key players: INF Leo Prosser, sr.; UTIL Charles Sparks, jr.; C/P Terryn Price, jr.; P/INF Eddie Glaser, so.; P Jacob Bolduc, jr.

Outlook: Bolduc was the workhorse of the pitching staff, going 3-4 and striking out 61 batters in just 41 1-3 innings and also led the team with 15 RBIs. Sparks batted .327, and the team should get a spark from Prosser, who missed most of last season after suffering a torn knee ligament the previous football season. He batted .400 and .339 during his first two seasons.

ECA

Coach: Bob DeRuiter (12th season)

Last year: 8-8, lost in district tournament

Key players: SS/P Samuel Perkett, sr.; C/P/INF Tyler Schwinck, sr.; 1B/3B Cade Hammarquist, sr.

Outlook: After many years of growing pains with youth, this season's version of Eagles is mainly upperclassmen. With that experience, DeRuiter hopes his team will be more consistent. Perkett is a three-time all-conference player who batted .450 a season ago, while Schwinck hit .400 and Hammarquist is a three-year starter at the infield corner positions.

Peyton

Coach: Kelly Nickell (16th season)

Last year: 16-4, advanced to state tournament

Key players: P/OF Caleb Yutzy, sr.; P/INF Tyler Walker, sr.; P/1B Rodney Gregg, so.; C/P/INF Garhett Shaw, sr.; P/INF Jaeden Meyers, so.; OF Tyler Redmond, sr.; P/OF Josh Gonzales, so.

Outlook: The Panthers, who reached the 2A state tournament in 2016, on paper have the potential of making a deeper playoff run with eight returning starters, to go with a deep pitching staff and bench. Yutzy (3.50 ERA), Gregg (4-0, 43 strikeouts) and Shaw (3.50 ERA) all earned all-league honors, while Gregg also batted .403 and Yutzy added a .400 clip at the plate. New to the team is Christian Perry, the 2016 Gazette's hockey player of the year.

 

1A DISTRICT 2

Pikes Peak Christian

Coach: Curtis Bellew (third season)

Last year: 0-5

Key players: SS/P/C Ethan Sherman, sr.; P/INF Gabe Gutierrez, jr.; 2B/P/C Nick Bellew, jr.

Outlook: The small squad features one freshman and two seniors, led by Sherman, a three-year letter-winner. He previously led the school's football program to the state playoffs and has contributed at pitcher, catcher and shortstop. Overall, the Eagles, who lack game experience, should improve as the year progresses.

*Teams not listed did not report.