Preseason Countdown: No. 40 Wheat Ridge

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. To see the entire list click here

Team: Wheat Ridge
Preseason Rank: 40
2016 Record: 11-8
Conference: Jeffco 
CHSAA Class: 4A
Head Coach: Adam Miller
Playoff Run: Lost 7-6 in 10 innings to Pueblo South in 4A District 8 bracket. 
2016 Final Rank: 63
Returning Starters: 5
Returning Pitchers: 1

Travis Cowan, SS/RHP, 2017
Carlos Shippley, MIF, 2017
Abraham Apodaca, C, 2018
Jack Marvel, OF, 2017
Gavin Phillips, OF, 2017

Peyton Dietrich, OF, 2018

The Farmers will need to find a No. 2 option on the mound after Cowan.

Gino Tate: Graduated

The Farmers played 7 games last year that were decided by 1 run going 4-3 in those contests, 3 that went extra innings.

Last year the Farmers had a heartbreaking loss to Pueblo South in the 4A District 8 bracket. After building a 5-0 lead through 5 innings the Farmers ended up losing 7-6 in 10 innings to the Colts knocking them out of the playoffs. Under head coach Adam Miller the Wheat Ridge Farmers have been one of the top teams in 4A since they moved out of the 5A Jeffco League down to 4A in 2009.The Farmers since then have won 125 and lost 54 games since then. Last year they had a younger team, and after starting the year 10 and 4, they had a harder time down the stretch losing 4 of their last 5 games. The Farmers have solid talent coming back. Senior Travis Cowan returns coming off a year hitting .389 and led the team with 19 RBI's. Cowan also should be the No. 1 option on the mound after going 3-2 with a 2.50 ERA striking out 35 batters in 33 innings. Senior Carlos Shipley returns after hitting .345 last spring while providing speed on the bases. Senior outfielders Jack Marvel and Gavin Phillips return. Marvel hit over .300 and drove in 14 runs while Phillips showed some power in limited at-bats. He could fill a void in the middle of the lineup after hitting .405 last spring. Abraham Apodacca is a very good option behind the plate defensively who will improve on his offensive production this year.  Expect the Farmers to still be in the 4A playoff mix. They will have some new players step in and compete like all of Adam Miller's teams do.