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July 29, 2014

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Preps: Sunset Region team-by-team outlook

Bishop Gorman GAELS

Baseball

Last year: 16-8, lost in Sunset first round

Coach: Chris Sheff (2nd year)

Past state championships: None

Key players: Greg Kline (1B/3B, Sr.); Taylor Cole (SS, So.); Taylor Preston (P, Sr.)

Outlook: Hadland Park hasn't seen a lineup this young since they installed the Super Slide, with seven of the 15 players freshmen or sophomores.

Softball

Last year: 5-19

Coach: Kevin Smith

Past state championships: None

Key players: Not Available.

Bonanza BENGALS

Baseball

Last year: 17-13, lost in Sunset first round

Coach: Derek Stafford (1st year)

Past state championships: None

Key players: Ross MacDonald (P, Jr.); Reid Benincasa (P, Sr.); Ryan Pineda (SS, So.)

Outlook: MacDonald had 55 strikeouts last year with a 3.52 ERA, and will fill the hole left by departed pitcher Jaiven Estrada and his 1.92 ERA.

Softball

Last year: 20-13, lost in Sunset semifinals

Coach: Cheryl Speer (10th year)

Past state championships: None

Key players: Megan Lambert (P, Sr.); Joyce Delp (P, Jr.); Brooke Price (C, Jr.)

Outlook: Speer thinks that this team is looking fairly strong, once the early jitters get out of the way.

Centennial BULLDOGS

Baseball

Last year: 32-5, lost in Sunset championship

Coach: Charlie Cerrone (xth year)

Past state championships: None

Key players: Casey Knorr (C/IF, Sr.); Tyler Pickett (P, Sr.); Jordan Salazar (P, Sr.)

Outlook: Centennial was the team to beat last year before Cimarron's run, and returns a lot of talent.

Softball

Last year: 30-3, 4A state champions

Coach: Mike Livreri (2nd year)

Past state championships: 2004

Key players: Jessika Wetzler (OF/P, Sr.); Kylie Kearns (2B/P, So.); Jenna Van Eykeren (P, Fr.)

Outlook: Much of the Bulldogs' power, including pitcher Shannon Crisp, has graduated, but Kearns was 8-0 last season with 32 RBI.

Cheyenne DESERT SHIELD

Baseball

Last year: 16-11, lost in Sunset first round

Coach: Mike DeMaria

Past state championships: None

Key players: Not available

Softball

Last year: 4-17

Coach: Melodie Simon

Past state championships: None

Key players: Not Available

Cimarron-Memorial SPARTANS

Baseball

Last year: 32-9, State Runner-Up

Coach: Mike Hubel (3rd year)

Past state championships: None

Key players: Mark Willinsky (P, Sr.); Brandon Trodick (CF, Sr.); Jordan Muir (3B/P, Sr.)

Outlook: Cimarron's got a roster loaded with seniors fresh off a run at the state title. It's many Spartans' last chance to make a run at the championship. They'll be led by Trodick, who hit .465 last season.

Softball

Last year: 22-9, lost in Sunset Region semifinal

Coach: Joe Sarro (3rd year)

Past state championships: None

Key players: Ashley Adams (C, Jr.); Jennifer Lidell (P/I, Jr.); Kelsey McCoy (P, So.)

Outlook: Adams had five home runs last season while batting .390, and teammate Liddell hit .400 while pitching a 1.28 ERA with 27 K's.

Clark CHARGERS

Baseball

Last year: 11-16-2

Coach: Jason Klinger (1st year)

Past state championships: 1975, 1972

Key players: Bryan Lebron (OF/C, Sr.), Keoki Wright (P, Sr.).

Outlook: 2005 will be Klinger's first and only year as head Baseball coach, as he moves on to football next season. Lebron, an all-regional outfielder last season, makes a transition of necessity to behind the plate.

Softball

Last year: 16-12, lost in Sunset first round

Coach: Andrea Leavitt (2nd year)

Past state championships: 1993

Key players: Lydia Pierce (P, Sr.); Missy Davenport (OF/3B, So.)

Outlook: Pierce has pitched for four years for Clark, which coach Leavitt says has strengths all around.

Durango TRAILBLAZERS

Baseball

Last year: 24-13, lost in Sunset semifinals

Coach: Sam Knapp Past state championship: 1999

Key players: Koa Kahalehoe (OF, Sr.); Kris Cichoski (OF/P, Sr.); Mike Hammonds (1B, Sr.)

Outlook: Many Sunset coaches believe Durango has returned to the "team to beat" role on the west side. Three Blazers players have already signed with colleges.

Softball

Last year: 21-12, lost in Sunset quarterfinals

Coach: Sandy Morgan (10th year)

Past state championships: None

Key players: Jennifer Stone (CF, Sr.); Haily Hachtel (P, So.); Rachel Johnson (C, So.)

Outlook: Stone, who led the Blazers with 35 RBI while hitting .444 last season, returns as Durango looks to recover from last year's 1-2 postseason. Hachtel was 10-3 in 2004.

Mojave RATTLERS

Baseball

Last year: 4-17

Coach: Clemente Vargas III (2nd year)

Past state championships: None

Key players: Matt Sweat (C/P, Jr.); DJ Tilche (P/SS, Sr.); Michael Blazek (SS/2B, So.)

Outlook: Tilche has been one of Las Vegas' better talents, but has struggled early this season.

Softball

Last year: 1-19

Coach: Anthony Marentic (3rd year)

Past state championships: None

Key players: Joycelyn Austin (1B, Sr.), Elizabeth Kizziah (SS, Sr.)

Outlook: Anything would be an improvement from last season, and with the Northwest Division a little weaker, that could be possible.

Palo Verde PANTHERS

Baseball

Last year: 22-12, lost in Sunset quarterfinals

Coach: Mike Besser (5th year)

Past state championships: None

Key players: Joe Intiso (C, Sr.); Jerry Gamez (2B/P, Sr.); Mark Sayas (SS, Sr.)

Outlook: The Panthers are off to a hot start this year, and have enough pitching and offense to make a run at the Sunset title.

Softball

Last year: 18-6-1, lost in Sunset championship

Coach: Jaime Ditto

Past state championships: None

Key players: Taylor Lawrence (SS, Jr.); Lindsey Callaway (P, Jr.); Melissa Wilson (CF, Jr.)

Outlook: The Panthers return 10 starters, including an experienced class of seven juniors that reached last year's Sunset final. Pitcher Lindsey Callaway and her 2004 0.95 ERA could be the class of the Northwest.

Shadow Ridge MUSTANGS

Baseball

Last year: 9-18-1

Coach: Steve Barnson (2nd year)

Past state championships: None

Key players: Mike Towers (OF, Sr.); K.C. Simons (SS, Sr.); Billy Jackson (1B, So.)

Outlook: Veteran coach Barnson leads a talent-packed Mustangs in an important season before a new school savages the talent base.

Softball

Last year: 6-16, lost in Sunset Region first round

Coach: Cindy Winter (1st year)

Past state championships: None

Key players: Codee Rodriguez (Util, Sr.); Michele Smith (P, Fr.); Caitlin Shea (C, Sr.)

Outlook: Winter's program has some senior talent but a young pitching staff, including Smith and sophomore Amber Heetland.

Sierra Vista MOUNTAIN LIONS

Baseball

Last year: 24-9, lost in Sunset semifinals

Coach: Nathan Selby

Past state championships: None

Key players: Scott Berke (OF, Jr.); Justin Garcia (1B/P, Sr.); Chris Carter (3B, Sr.)

Outlook: The Mountain Lions had a great season last year, with then-sophomore outfielder Berke hitting .389 with seven HRs and 18 SBs. Look for them to grow even stronger this year.

Softball

Last year: 25-12, lost in Sunset quarterfinals

Coach: Jerome Streets (3rd year)

Past state championships: None

Key players: Stacey Burgos (C, Jr.); Kylee Kissane (P, Jr.); Amber Heinz (C, Jr.)

Outlook: Kissane is one of the regoin's top pitching prospects, and so far has been impressive. Streets has high standards for this team, and if his players round into shape, watch out in May.

Spring Valley GRIZZLIES

Baseball

Last year: First-year school.

Coach: Mike Gomez (1st year)

Key players: Austin Chatterley (2B/P, Jr.); Jeff Gonzalez (OF, Jr.); Kyle Wolar (P, Fr.)

Outlook: Gomez, a former state champion coach at Eldorado and Durango, brings instant credibility as a contender.

Softball

Last year: First-yeat school.

Coach: Emily Watkins (1st year)

Key players: Molly Bausher (2B, Jr.); Stacey Dilts (P, Jr.); Ashley Dehler (SS, Jr.)

Outlook: Bausher, a second-team all-state infielder in 2004, leads the new school's attack. The team is loaded with juniors and could be a force in the Southwest.

Western WARRIORS

Baseball

Last year: 5-21

Coach: Wade Larson (2nd year)

Past state championships: 1967, 1966, 1964, 1963

Key players: Freddy Dorantes (P, Sr.), Kevin Klein (1B, Sr.)

Softball

Last year: 0-22

Coach: Colin Wilson

Past state championships: None

Key players: Not Available.

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