5A Colorado Springs Metro
Coach: Mike Berkey (first season)
Last season: (6-13, 3-9 league)
Key players: Delanie Baker, jr. pitcher; Madison O'Driscoll, sr. ss; Montana Spring, sr. util
Quick read: The Spartans are joining forces. The baseball staff is filling in this fall, coaching the softball team while Rachel Trujillo takes care of some personal family issues. First-year coach Berkey thinks the team's defense and pitching will carry it early, but Doherty needs to work on offense.
Coach: Astrid McGill (eighth season)
Last season: 13-9 (11-1 league)
Key players: Carson Dunckley, sr. pitcher/3rd; Gabby Hoyt, sr. util; Morgan Ward, jr. of; Emily Baros, jr. util; Sasha Lewis, jr, of
Quick read: Liberty won the regular-season league title in 2016, nearly shutting out the rest of 5A Metro. Led by All-State First Team selection Dunckley, McGill said the Lancers are focused on working readying themselves for every game, no matter the opponent, in hopes of becoming a state qualifier this year.
Coach: Randy Teschner (first season)
Last season: 5-12 (2-8 league)
Key players: Katelyn Brosset, sr. ss; Kendra Miller, so., pitcher; Leticia Velasco, jr. catcher; Ashley Webster, jr. of/util.; Becca Olson, so. of; Shelby Pick, sr. 2nd/ss; Shelby Williamson, sr. 3rd; Nia Erbaugh, sr. 1st
Quick read: The Terrors are laden with upperclassmen, but trying to jell as a team. Palmer will count on Miller, one of the most promising pitchers in the region.
Coach: Janelle Krohn (second season)
Last Season: 10-10 (9-3 league)
Key players: Camille Lucas, sr. catcher/3rd; Leah Passafiume, jr. ss/pitcher; Brooke Linden, jr. pitcher; Gerilyn Martinez, jr. of; Katie Spieth, jr. catcher/3rd
Quick read: The Eagles return several key players with varsity experience, and boast a "strong and diverse" pitching staff. Passafiume (5-5, 3.60 ERA in 2016) appeared in all but one of Pine Creek's games last season.
Coach: Ryan Sheets (third season)
Last season: 9-10 (7-5 league)
Key players: Shelby Shepherd, sr. ss/pitcher; Abby Konkel, sr. of; Kate Frederick, sr. catcher; Olivia Risch, sr. 3rd; Brittany Head, sr. util; Alex Hill, jr. if; Maddy Heimlich, jr. of
Quick read: Sheets expects his team to contend for the league title with plenty of senior leadership, including several all-league selections. Shepherd and Risch return after junior campaigns in which both batted above .500.
Not reporting: Coronado, Fountain-Fort Carson
4A Colorado Springs Metro
Coach: Crystal Burford (first season)
Last season: 11-10, (7-1 league)
Key players: Briana Atencio, sr. catcher/ss; Ashton Atencio, sr. 2nd/pitcher; Bailey Littrell, sr. 3rd/ss; Serenity Swett, sr. of; Kiley O'Rourke, jr. of; Sayuri Sanders, jr. pitcher
Quick read: After five years as an assistant, Burford takes the reins and has state in mind. Sanders is expected to be the Tigers' ace pitcher, but they need an underclassman to step up to make that area stronger.
The Classical Academy
Coach: Michael T. Ludeman (fourth season)
Last season: 8-11 (4-4 league)
Key players: Maile Johnson, jr. pitcher; Alexa Valenzuela, jr. ss/catcher
Quick read: TCA graduated five starters last year, but is left with a "tight-knit group." The Titans will look to break in a new home field with increased offensive output.
Coach: Janet Schafer (fourth season)
Last season: 4-14 (1-7 league)
Key players: Chenoa Scippo, jr., 1st; Katiah Thomas, jr., 2nd; Mary Roach, jr. of; Tae Paulson, jr. of; Jackie Contreas, jr. 3rd
Quick read: The Panthers will rely heavily on its deep junior class and, according to Schafer, continue to work on consistency and aggressiveness on the base paths.
Coach: Jessica Regnerus (first season)
Last season: 10-9 (6-2 league)
Key players: Jocelyn Garcia, so. ss; Dana Atencio, jr. pitcher/1st; Savannah Valdez, so. of; Anna Justus, so. catcher
Quick read: Widefield's very young team will try to match or exceed its winning record from a year ago. The Gladiators are proud of their pitching staff and put in a lot of work in the offseason.
Coach: Dale Huntington (seventh season)
Last season: 7-12 (4-4 league)
Key players: Lena Knapp, so., 3rd/if; Skye Patterson, sr. catcher/1st; Madigan Kleppe, jr. pitcher/util; Jada Boddy, so. if/of; Danielle Thraikill, so. pitcher/util
Quick read: Kleppe is the Panthers' only senior, but they will also rely on Knapp, who finished with 19 RBIs last season, and Boddy, whom Huntington called "up-and-coming."
Not reporting: Elizabeth, Mesa Ridge, Mitchell, Sierra
5A/4A Pikes Peak
Coach: Chris Hernez (fifth season)
Last season: 18-5 (6-1 league)
Key players: Cassidy Horn, sr. pitcher; Karsen Romines, sr. of; Amanda Smith, sr. 2nd; Lindsay Holloway, sr. 3rd; Rachel Noel, sr. catcher; Lilly Kelkenberg, sr. catcher; Sheridan Wayne jr. 1st
Quick read: Air Academy looks loaded for another deep run, with Cassidy Horn, one of the best pitchers in the state, looking to put up huge numbers again in her senior year. The Kadets will need to work on hitting in order to advance past the state semifinals, where they lost 6-4 to Erie last season.
Coach: Tanya Ramsay (11th season)
Last Season: 14-8 (7-0 league)
Key players: Corah Price, sr. pitcher; Amber Rees, sr. of/ss; Sami Edwards, jr. of; Jessica Johnson, sr. pitcher/of
Quick read: The core of the Thunder team that won the PPAC championship with an undefeated league record last season is intact. Discovery Canyon will again look to Price, a top pitcher in the PPAC last season with a 2.88 ERA, and offensive talents Rees (.371) and Edwards (.479).
Coach: Allie Klasen (first season)
Last season: 9-10 (2-5 league)
Key players: Katelyn Ralston, so. pitcher; Grace Gustofson, fr. ss; Mia Hedman, fr. of/2nd; Mikaela McCarson, so. 1st; Jenna Randall, jr. catcher; Hope Brazil, sr. 3rd/ss
Quick read: The young Indians put in a lot of summer work after skidding to four losses in their final six games of 2016, and have an excited new coach.
Coach: Timber Hawkins (first season)
Last season: 5-14 (0-7 league)
Key players: Hailee Mayl, jr. 1st/of; J.R. Smith, so. ss/pitcher/of
Quick read: Sand Creek was last in its league last season, but new coach Timber Hawkins knows the score. "This team has been known to have mediocre programs, but I have a few game changers up my sleeve," she said. The team lacks position players, so the Scorpions are working on figuring out who goes where and putting the work in.
Not reporting: Vista Ridge, Falcon, Lewis-Palmer, Palmer Ridge
3A District 2
Coach: Dave Hyland (22nd season)
Last season: 10-10 (6-6 league)
Key players: Peyton Richter, jr. pitcher; Mackenzie Pepper, jr. ss; Maddie Horsley, jr. 1st; Morgan Trechter, so. 3rd
Quick read: With seven of last year's nine starters returning, St. Mary's has more than regionals in mind. Led by first-team all-league selection Richter, St. Mary's will look to become more consistent and improve on last year's .500 record.