Preseason Countdown: No 40 Highlands Ranch



By John Cackowski
State Director

Leading up to the start of the high school season, we will count down the top 50 preseason teams every day as part of our comprehensive season coverage. The top 50 teams are picked from all classifications, and are not divided up by class level:

Team: Highlands Ranch 
Preseason Rank:
40
2014 Record:
12-8
Conference:
Continental
 CHSAA Class: 5A
Head Coach:
Joe Gleason
Playoff Run: Lost to Grand Junction Central 1-0 in first game of 5A District playoffs.
2015 Final Rank: 43
Returning Starters:
4
Returning Pitchers:
0

TOP PLAYERS
Aaron Dammel No. 19 2016, MIF (Metropolitan State)
Tyler Miller, OF, No 111, 2016
Michael Forlenza, OF, No. 140 2016
Morgan McIntosh, 3B/2B, No. 55 2017
Bret Newman, C/RHP, No. 57 2017

OTHER PLAYERS THAT COULD MAKE AN IMPACT:
Nick Rohacek, 1B/OF, No. 112 2016
Cade Grossman, 1B, No. 133 2016 (Feather River CC)
Peyton McFadden, RHP/OF, No. 71 2017
Jordan Medina, C, No. 3 2018,
Josh Thompson, RHP,  No. 20 2018
Dan McGettigan, OF, 2016
Kevin Ball, 1B, No. 88 2017

X-FACTOR:
Who is your starting pitcher? Can be a good thing or bad thing, but no one will know who the Falcons will be throwing against them in 2016. For the Falcons to build off of any 2015 success they will have to have not just one but a few players step up and give quality innings in 2016.  

KEY PLAYER LOST:
Nick Shumpert: Drafted in 7th Round by Tigers (San Jacinito JC)
 

STAT RAT:
Out of 125 total innings pitched in 2015, only 9 innings of experience return to 2016. Also after starting off 7-0 to start the 2015 season the Falcons finished 5 and 8 the rest of the way.
 

BOTTOM LINE:
Led by first year coach Joe Gleason, the Falcons returned to the playoffs in 2015 after taking a two year absence and lost 1-0 to Grand Junction Central in the first game of the 5A District playoffs. The Falcons graduated 11 seniors from the 2015 team, but enter 2016 with a young talented team. The Falcons are led by 4 year starter 2016 MIF Aaron Dammel. In 2015 Dammel hit .403 and scored 19 runs for the Falcons. He will be asked to replace Nick Shumpert at SS in 2016. 2017 MIF Morgan McIntosh hit over .300 in 2015. He will be a key part of the lineup in 2016 and will be asked to be a run producer for the 2016 Falcons. 2016 outfielders Tyler Miller and Mike Forlenza return to the top of the lineup and will provide some solid defense in the outfield and experience. The rest of the team will be rounded out by a talented group of 2017 and 2018 players who will see their first significant playing time on the varsity. The Falcons have a good group of young arms coming into the mix in 2016. Those young arms will be the difference in returning to the 5A playoffs in 2016. If the Falcons solidify the pitching they will be in the mix again for their 8th 5A playoff appearance in the last ten years.


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