5A/4A Colorado Springs Metro
Coach: Trevor Stewart, third season
Last year: 9-10 (6-6 5A CSML)
Returning starters: Beau Chauvin, sr., INF/ C/ P; Nolan Daniels, so., OF, P; Parker Martin, sr., C/INF/ OF; Bryce McKee, sr., SS/ P; Nathan Papenfuss, jr., INF/ OF; Tucker Travins, sr., 1B/ OF/ P; Graehame Webb, jr., UTIL
Coach: Mike Berkey, fourth season
Last year: 6-13 (3-9 5A CSML)
Returning starters: Lucas Colvin, sr., OF; David Cooper, so., C/INF; Jordan Cornelison, sr., OF; Thomas Hollon, jr., INF/C; Jordan McDonald, jr., P/OF/INF; Hayden Smith, sr., OF/INF/P
Other top players: Jake Corsi, fr., P/ INF; Spencer Settle, P/INF; Griffin Wells, so., P/OF
Outlook: “We will be young in certain areas of the field but excited to see what these younger players can do,” Berkey said. “With possibility of having two freshmen and two sophomores as possible starters. We have a bright future ahead of us. But if the mix of upperclassmen and a few breaks our way this year, we could make some noise.”
Fountain-Fort Carson Trojans
Coach: Andrew Johnson, third season
Last year: 9-10 (5-7 5A CSML)
Returning starters: Shaun Cox, jr., OF; Joe Flores, sr., INF; Nate Lengeman, sr., INF; Tyler Orcutt, sr., OF; Cody Spears, sr., LHP/1B; Garrett Thibault, sr., RHP/1B
Other top players: Derick Pennington, sr., RHP/OF; Dylan Smith, jr., INF
Outlook: “I am very excited about our pitching and defense specifically,” Johnson said. “We believe we have some arms that compete at the conference and state level, and we will be able to defend with any team out there. We also have some incoming juniors who will help provide depth in certain positions."
Notes: The Trojans return a veteran group including five returning starters and two starting pitchers. … Fountain-Fort Carson will host the program’s first tournament this weekend featuring Vista Ridge, Falcon, TCA, and Canon City.
Coach: Austin Watson, second season
Last year: 8-10 (8-4 5A CSML)
Returning starters: Austin Franco, sr., SS/P; Chris Smith, sr., 3B/P
Other top players: Brandon Bervig, sr., LF/P; Derric Ballard, jr., 2B/P; Aiden Mallrich, so., C; Jonah Shearer, fr., SS/P; Noah Shearer, sr., LF/P; Bricen Sites, so., 1B/P; Mason VanderWeit, jr., CF/P
Outlook: “We have a young team with tremendous talent,” Watson said. “We also have a solid core of upperclassmen that will lead the way. Worth ethic and determination is top-notch.”
Coach: David Mills, first season
Last year: 4-15 (2-10 5A CSML)
Returning starters: Justin Chappell, jr., C/P; Cale Fields, s., P/IF; Presley Greier, so., C/1B; Kevin Hernandez, jr., SS/P; Matthew New, sr., P/CF; Kenton McCurry, 1B
Other top players: Kody Woods, jr., OF/IF
Outlook: “We have a nice mix of returning starters, and incoming freshmen,” Mills said. “I am excited to see how with the right motivation, these young men perform on the field and as a team.”
Coach: Jake Huard, second season
Last year: 8-11 (6-6 5A CSML)
Returning starters: JJ Carrington, sr., C; Hunter Felts, sr., 1B; Brandon White, sr., SS; Kevin Witcher, jr., 3B; Ian Watkins, sr., RF; Taylor Zaiger, sr., P
Outlook: “We have a great group of guys. They keep it fun and just enjoy playing the game,” Huard said. “We were able to double our wins last year from the previous year and are looking to continue to play at a high level.”
4A/5A Pikes Peak
Air Academy Kadets
Coach: Brandon “Buck” Buchanan, first season at Air Academy
Last year: 8-11 (8-6 4A/5A PPAC)
Returning starters: Kane Daniluk, jr., C;. Grant Dudden, sr., INF/ RHP; Josh Duenas, sr., INF/ RHP; Michael Midkiff, sr., OF; Bo Powers, sr., INF/ RHP; Grant Shandy, sr., OF/ RHP; Nick Ullman, sr., OF/ RHP; Carter Wood, jr., OF/ C/RHP; Ethan Yanez, sr., OF/ LHP
Other top players: Nick Cregan, jr., INF/RHP; Brayden White, jr., UTIL; James Wright, fr., INF/C
Outlook: “We have a lot of guys that have played at a high level before, which adds good experience to the program. That depth adds a lot of competition between the players, which is always a good thing when competing for jobs,” Buchanan said. “We know the challenge ahead of us playing in one of the best 4A conferences in the state and the schedule that we have in front of us is no easy task, but that also is exciting and will challenge our guys to make them better in the long run.”
Notes: Air Academy will host a first responders game Tuesday, and has a number of other community and volunteer projects planned.
Cheyenne Mountain Indians
Coach: Mark Swope, 10th season
Last year: 18-8 (10-4 4A/5A PPAC) The Indians placed third in Class 4A after winning the Region 3 title.
Returning starters: Aaron Berkhoff, sr., INF; Cameron Buckler, jr., 1B/RHP; Devin Dodson, jr., C/RHP; Michael Ellis, jr., 1B/RHP; Adam Jackson, so., INF; Grant Mondejar, jr., INF/RHP; Hank Morley, jr., OF
Other top players: Ryan Berkhoff, jr., OF/RH; Brad Helton, so., OF/RHP; Bo Iacobbo, jr., RHP
Outlook: “Cheyenne Mountain returns nearly all of their pitching staff, coupled with last year's third-place finish at state should add valuable experience,” Swope said.
Discovery Canyon Thunder
Coach: Justin Ross, second season
Last year: 13-7 (9-5 4A/5A PPAC)
Returning starters: Mason Pastorello, sr., SS; Zach Surface, jr., P
Other top players: Garrett Behm, jr., C; Ethan Hall, jr., CF; Hal Hutcheon, sr., 3B; Jonah Isakson, jr., LF
Outlook: “We will be a very young team, replacing eight starters from last year's top team in school history,” Ross said. “We are excited to see how the new kids to the varsity program compete.”
Coach: Dana Reichers, fifth season
Last year: 12-8 (8-6 4A/5A PPAC)
Returning starters: Dylan Debow, sr., INF/P; Trenton Kibler, sr., 1B/P; Brock Owen, sr., OF; Connor Thiele, jr., 3B/P; Matt Williams, sr., INF
Other top players: AJ Castro, so., C; Dawson Gerlach, jr., INF/P; Carson Hardaway, sr., P; Riley Robertson, so., P/3B
Outlook: “We have a lot of young and upcoming talent that will have the chance to take the field this year,” Reichers said. “We are full of talent at the underclassman level.”
Palmer Ridge Bears
Coach: Jason Heidel, second season
Last year: 16-5 (11-3 4A/5A PPAC) The Bears won their conference and made it to the regional title game before falling to Evergreen.
Returning starters: Parker Braun, sr., P; Charlie Deeds, sr., SS/P; JD Dyer, sr., RF; Jack Flynn, jr., CF; Bridger Havens, sr., 3B/P; Gabe Rogers, sr., DH/P/OF; Brayton Wilmes, so., 2B/SS/P; Jack Wotta, sr., C
Other top players: Jameson Bush, so., 3B/2B; Josh Mills, so., OF/P; Keleen O’Connor, so., C; Christian Palmer, so., 1B//P; Zach Shepherd, sr., OF/2B/P
Outlook: “I am extremely excited about the leadership and ownership that this group of young men have taken. This combined with the talent of this group should be a competitive season,” Heidel said. “We have created a culture here at Palmer Ridge that makes baseball fun and gives us the opportunity to play this game with integrity.”
Notes: Mickey and Minnie Mouse, along with the Palmer Ridge Make-A-Wish child will throw out the first pitch April 13 against Liberty. The idea was spearheaded by the team’s senior captains Charlie Deeds, Bridger Havens, Jack Wotta, Jack Flynn and Brayton Wilmes.
Sand Creek Scorpions
Coach: Ed Nelson, fourth season
Last year: 2-17 (0-14 4A/5A PPAC)
Returning starters: Taber Banks, sr., CF; Tyler Hallada, sr., 2B; Dylan Hastings, jr., P
Outlook: “What excites me this season is how young we are going to be,” Nelson said.
Vista Ridge Wolves
Coach: Carter Gerber, third season
Last year: 4-15 (3-11 4A/5A PPAC)
Returning starters: Nick Baba, so., C; Brandon Chamberlin, sr., C; Brandon Fehrm, sr., P; Ryan Shaffer, sr., SS; Elijah Trujillo, sr., OF; Joseph Velasquez, sr., OF; Mason Wahlberg, jr., 3B
Other top players: Tyler Aldridge, so., 1B; Austin Armstrong, so., 2B; Denny Densen, so., OF; Tyler Edwards, so., P; Ian Flores, jr., P; Dylan Higgins, so., P; Kaleb Moore, sr., C; Daniel Pacheco, so., 2B; Wesley Parker, jr., OF; Luke Singleton, fr., P/OF; Zack Stallings, so., P/1B
Outlook: “We are extremely young with a senior-loaded pitching staff,” Gerber said. “I am excited to see what we can do with a bunch of young talented guys filling up our roster. The backbone of our team features two college-bound senior pitchers and a returning second-team all-conference catcher.”
Notes: Gerber said the team will likely have eight sophomores and two freshmen play "significant roles" during the 2019 season.
4A Colorado Springs Metro
Canon City Tigers
Coach: Tim Ritter, 20th season
Last year: 15-6 (6-2 4A CSML) The Tigers lost in the Class 4A Region 1 championship game.
Returning starters: Lincoln Andrews, sr., P/IN; Andrew Brosh, jr., C/IN; Andrew Lapp, so., IN; Ben Marushack, sr., P/UTIL; Seth Newton, so., P/IN
Outlook: “We have a huge challenge to compete for a league title this year, which was taken from us last year for the first time in four years by Elizabeth,” Ritter said. “This will be the youngest team I have coached in a long time. Some years we have just reloaded and we didn't miss beat, however, this year will definitely be a rebuilding year for the Tigers.”
Notes: The Tigers lost five seniors to graduation — four of whom were in the Tigers’ starting lineup a majority of the season.
Coach: Andrew Melton, second season
Last year: 12-8 (7-1 4A CSML) The Cardinals claimed the 4A CMSL crown, but were knocked out in the first round of the regional tournament.
Returning starters: Casey Berndt, sr., INF; Drew Francis, sr., OF; Tyler Richardson, sr., LHP/1B; Colt Tyler, jr., C; Vince Weber, jr., UTIL
Other top athletes: Ashton Bott, sr., OF
Outlook: “Although we lost a lot both on the mound and in the field, we return Richardson along with a very solid supporting cast of young guys,” Melton said. “Our defense will be sound again with some new and exciting contributors.”
Notes: Last year Richardson, a left-handed pitcher, threw 25.1 innings with 48 strikeouts and a 6.36 ERA. The Cardinals are the returning 4A CSML champs, dethroning Canon City.
Mesa Ridge Grizzlies
Coach: John Bishop, third season
Last year: 9-9 (4-4 4A CSML)
Returning starters: Reece Bishop, jr., SS; Jess Harden, so., P/1B; Gabe Stephens, 3A/P/OF; Ryan Tutton, sr., IF/P
Other top players: Jonah Edwards, fr., OF/P/C; Tyler Holland, P/3B/1B; Jared Volcic, jr., OF/P
Outlook: “Mesa Ridge started four sophomores and a freshman in 2018, and finished the season .500. All five players are back this year bigger and stronger,” Bishop said. “We will also start another freshman this year. And we are excited to start the season and compete!”
The Classical Academy Titans
Coach: Bart Jennings, fourth season
Last year: 10-9 (6-2 4A CSML)
Returning starters: Ethan Boyles, sr., OF; Noah Lasecki, sr., P/1B; Matt Roper, sr., P/OF; Matt Leland, sr., P/1B; Matt Doole, sr., P/3B; Hayden Cooper, jr., P/SS; Jason Moore, jr., P/C; Steven Smith, jr., P/2B
Other top players: Ryan Howard, so., P/OF; Kobe Katayama, so., P/IF; Alex Moore, so., P/OF
Outlook: “It’s a privilege to coach several returning players with honors and the opportunity to win a conference championship,” Jennings said. “Also looking forward to coaching with some great new coaches on the staff.”
Notes: TCA tied for second in the league last season and lost six to graduation.
Coach: John Sanchez, ninth season
Last year: 11-8 (6-2 4A CSML)
Returning starters: Axel Jensen, sr., P/1B/OF; Camron Lucas, sr., C/INF
Other top players: Trevor Blackwell, sr., 3B/P; James Eltagonde, sr., INF/OF/P; Joe Rupprecht, sr., INF/P/OF
Outlook: “This season will be a challenging one with the loss of seven starting seniors from last year, but with the mix of seniors and sophomores and no juniors this season still holds a lot of promise,” Sanchez said.
Notes: The Gladiators added four games to its regular-season schedule.
Woodland Park Panthers
Coach: Neil Levy, fourth season
Last year: 10-9 (4-4 4A CSML)
Returning starters: Caleb Elliott, OF/P; Lou Levy, sr., P/2B; Michael Shrum, sr., C/UTIL
Other top players: Cameron Chase, P/OF; Matt Lecky, so., P/SS; Zak Ludwick, jr., INF
Notes: Woodland Park will travel to Phoenix to play in the Greenway Baseball Festival the week of March 25.
Colorado Springs Christian Lions
Coach: Tom Flannery, third season
Last year: 3-13 (2-7 3A Tri-Peaks)
Outlook: "(We are excited about) the enthusiasm of the returning players and new players to play ball,” Flannery said.
Notes: CSCS was stacked with freshmen last season with six of 11 players competing in their first year of varsity baseball. … According to the 2019 roster, the Lions have nearly doubled their number of participants from a year ago, adding nine members.
Manitou Springs Mustangs
Coach: Branton DeMatto, second season
Last year: 4-15 (2-6 3A Tri-Peaks)
Returning starters: Joey Allen, jr., IF/P; Thor Flett, so., C/IF/P; Zak Talbot, jr., 1B/OF/P; Stephen Gentzel, sr., P/C/1B; Caden Harris, so., IF/P; Christian Mack, sr., P/OF; Hunter Zentz, sr., P/IF/OF
Outlook: “The core of this team will be very young. However, I think the youth of this team is eager to learn and driven to compete,” DeMatto said. “I look forward to seeing the blend of our upperclassmen with our underclassmen, as they look to continue building on the success they generated throughout the summer season together.”
Notes: The Mustangs will compete in the PRIDE Classic tournament in Phoenix over spring break.
St. Mary’s Pirates
Coach: Bill Percy, 13th season
Last year: 8-12 (5-4 3A Tri-Peaks)
Returning starters: Logan Arrasmith, 1B/C; Nick Baca, sr., C/ 1B; Sam Baldwin, sr., P/OF; Anthony Depner, INF/P; Thatcher Whalen, OF/P; Edwin Romo, sr., P/INF; Joe Sabish, sr., INF; Josh White, sr., OF
Other top players: Anthony Huber, so., INF; Landon Kane, so., OF/P
Outlook: “We’re excited about our experience,” Percy said. “We have many returning players with varsity playing experience.”
Notes: This is the first season St. Mary’s will play a 23-game schedule. … The Pirates will meet rival Manitou Springs at a game at Security Service Field on May 7.
2A District 8
Coach: Donovan Mitchell, sixth season
Last year: 13-7 (7-3 2A District 8)
Returning starters: Nathan Deputy; Brayden Dillingham, sr., SS; Eddie Glaser, sr., P/INF; Logan Glaser, so., P/3B; Joe Hays, sr., C; Tyler Hessek; Riley Riggs
Outlook: Mitchell said, “Most of our team is returning, we only graduated two seniors last year.”
Coach: Kelly Nickell, 18th season
Last year: 22-2 (10-0 2A District 8) Peyton earned the No. 1 seed in the Class 2A state tournament and made it to the state title game only to fall to Paonia.
Returning starters: Brenton Battista, so., P/OF; Rodney Gregg, sr., P/1B; Brandon Hussey, so., OF/C; Brennen Meyers, so., P/INF; Jaeden Meyers, sr., P/INF/C; Rupert Shaw, sr., P/INF/C; Austin Strobel, sr., P/C
Other top players: Nick Bachmeier, so., 1B; Josh Gonzales, sr., P/OF; Brandon Krause-Mahan, so., OF; Cameron Schaefer, jr., INF; Trevor Walker, sr., OF
Outlook: “We are returning all but one freshman player from last year,” Nickell said. “Several freshmen have the potential to contribute to the varsity right away. They will provide a lot of depth.”
Notes: The Panthers had over 40 athletes come out for the team, including 17 freshmen. Peyton adds Trevor Walker, an all-state quarterback selection, who returns after not playing the 2018 season. He played one varsity baseball season in 2016.
1A District 2
Evangelical Christian Eagles
Coach: Bob DeRuiter, 14th season
Last year: 14-8 (5-5 2A District 8)
Returning starters: Andrew DeRuiter, jr., P/UTIL; Kris Park, sr., C/INF; Daniel Perry, sr., P/1B; Brennan Schwamb, sr., OF/IF
Other top players: Judah Alexander, jr., INF/OF; Andrew Bronson, jr., OF; Spencer Hamilton, jr., OF/INF; Tyson Rawlings, jr., INF
Outlook: “We lost a large number of our starters to graduation and injury. Five senior starters graduated and two others are either out or recovering from injuries,” DeRuiter said. “We have a few guys that will be competing for wide-open positions. It will be interesting to see if they will respond well under the extra pressure and expectations. There will be a few freshmen coming in that might also be competing for playing time.”
Notes: ECA drops down to Class 1A this season after a competitive season in 2A last year. DeRuiter said the team tried to keep a similar schedule to face local foes. “It makes it a tough schedule for us and might even cost us in the RPI since there is not benefit for playing up in classifications,” DeRuiter said. “We are hopeful the kids will respond well to the challenges and that it will prepare us for the postseason.”
Teams not listed did not report.