Preseason Countdown: No.45 Smoky Hill



By John Cackowski
State Director

After taking a break from the Preseason Countdown during the holidays we continue with our list with Smoky Hill who we have coming in at 45. 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: Smoky Hill
Preseason Rank: 45
2015 Record: 11-10
Conference: Centennial
CHSAA Class: 5A
Head Coach: Bob Kennedy
Playoff Run: Lost to Chatfield 12-1 in 5A District 4 Championship
2014 Final Rank: 58
Returning Starters: 6
Returning Pitchers: 3

TOP PLAYERS:
Padraic Walsh, RHP, No. 18 2017
Evan Richards, 2B, No. 110 2016
Parker Friedentag, 1B, No. 120 2016
Cal Stevens, OF, 2016
Theron Hedlund, Util, 2017
Patrick O'Brien, C, 2016
Hunter Cromley, Util 2016
Julian Cook, OF, 2017

OTHER PLAYERS THAT COULD MAKE AN IMPACT:
Isaac Sprinkle, C, 2018
Tristan James, RHP, 2017
Josh Villarreal, Util, 2016
Israel Rodriguez, Util, 2018
Reece Bailey, OF, 2018
Cam Kennedy, SS, 2019

X-FACTOR:
Finding a No. 2 pitcher after Walsh.


KEY PLAYER LOST:
J.R. McDermott: Colorado Mesa

STAT RAT:
6 of the 11 wins from 2015 came from the arm of graduated senior J.R. McDermott.

BOTTOM LINE:
The Buffaloes were a scrappy team in 2015 working their way through a tough Centennial League with an 8-6 record, then pulled off the biggest upset in the 2015 playoffs by knocking off Rocky Mountain winning 6-3 in the 5A  District Playoffs. The Buffaloes will be lead by 2017 RHP Padraic Walsh in 2016. Walsh logged 35 innings on the mound in 2015 gaining valuable experience going into his junior year. 2016 1B Parker Friedentag hit .522 in 26 at-bats while also showing some pop hitting 4 doubles. 2016 2B Evan Richards hit .419 with 13 RBI's in 38 at-bats in 2015. 2016 Cal Stevens also hit over .400 in limited playing time in 2015. The Buffaloes will miss All-State RHP J.R. Mcdermott, however there are a lot of players coming back who got valuable league and playoff experience which will help in 2016.