Preseason Countdown: No. 42 Grand Junction



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: Grand Junction
Preseason Rank: 42
2014 Record: 13-7
Conference: Southwestern
CHSAA Class: 5A
Head Coach: Jeff McLaughlin
Playoff Run: Lost to Regis Jesuit 11-1 in the 5A District 7 site
2015 Final Rank: 42
Returning Starters: 3
Returning Pitchers: 2

TOP PLAYERS:
Tyson Zanski, No. 20 2016 (St. Cloud University)
Tyler Mantlo, 2B, No. 147 2016
Jackson Nourse, 1B, 2017

OTHER PLAYERS THAT COULD MAKE AN IMPACT:
Zack Owens, C/INF, 2018
Matt Stike, RHP, 2016
Andrew Hansen, INF, 2017

X-FACTOR:
The Tigers need to find some protection in the lineup for 2016 C Tyson Zanski or teams will for pitch around the St. Cloud University commit all spring.

KEY PLAYERS LOST:
Scott Nielson: Graduated
Caleb Coleman: Graduated

STAT RAT:
The Tigers were 13 and 7 overall in 2015, however they were only 2 and 6 against teams with winning records in state. The Tigers stacked up 7 in-state wins against teams that had a combined record of 42 and 89.

BOTTOM LINE:

The Tigers entered the 2015 season having to replace 9 seniors from 2014 and went 13-7 in 2015, however the record might have been deceiving considering 7 wins came against teams that had a combined winning percentage of 32%. The Tigers return one of the top catchers in the state in 2016 C Tyson Zanski. Zanski hit .385 last spring leading the team with 21 RBI's and 6 Doubles. Numbers that were down from his sophomore year where he hit .485. 2016 RHP Tyler Mantlo returns on the mound after posting a 6-2 record in 2015 with a 3.88 in 47 innings striking out 69. Mantlo also had 4 complete games in 2015. 2016 1B Jackson Nourse hit .344 in 2015 and will be called upon to bring much needed production after Zanski in the lineup. The Tigers should make the playoffs again in 2016. 2018 C/INF Zack Owens hit .480 in limited time with the varsity. They will need another starter on the mound and more consistency offensively to make a deep 5A playoff run

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