Preseason Top 50 Countdown: No.7 Fruita

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: Fruita
Preseason Rank:
2015 Record:
Western Slope
 CHSAA Class: 5A
Head Coach:
Ray McLellan
Playoff Run: Lost to Chatfield 3-2 in Class 5A District 4 playoffs
2015 Final Rank: 9
Returning Starters: 2

Returning Pitchers: 2

Cuba Bess, 1B/3B, No. 14 2016 (Grand Canyon University)
Sam Schroeder, RHP/OF, No. 17 2016
Devon Canup, RHP, No. 69 2016 (Northwest Nazarine)

Zach Rush, INF/RHP, 2019

Overcoming a tough 5A District Playoff loss as a host site to Chatfield 3-2 after having a 2-0 lead in the 7th inning and reloading after graduating 7 starting seniors.

The Wildcats still bring back their No. 1 and No. 2 pitchers. Schroeder and Canup went a combined 12 and 2 last season.

Fruita always has a history of being a scrappy hard working team. The credit goes to their long time coach Ray McLellan who always has his team able to compete with the best teams in 5A. After a dominating 2015 season who would have thought at the time that the Wildcats had a tough draw in Chatfield..a team that started the season 1 and 8 last year and barely squeaked into the playoffs only to make the 5A State Championship game. The Wildcats also had a 2-0 lead in the 7th inning of that game. That's why they play the game. Fast forward to 2016 and the Wildcats still have a chance to repeat their 2015 success. 2016 1B Cuba Bess (Grand Canyon) returns. Last year Bess might have been the best hitter at the 5A level. Bess hit .562 and drove in 40 RBI's to go along with 4 homeruns. He will be sure pitched around this year. 2016 RHP Sam Schroeder is an athletic pitcher (Starting QB for 3 years) who has a big arm. Bringing a 90 mph fastball, Schroeder went 7-1 with a 1.95 ERA. In 46 innings Schroeder struck out 67 and only gave up 27 hits. The No. 2 starter Devon Canup (Northwest Nazarine) also returns. Last year Canup posted a 5-1 record in 36 innings pitched striking out 28. The Wildcats will have a lot of new faces, but they have the 1-2 pitching combo to get through districts. Look for the Wildcats to come close to repeating their regular season record of 2015. They just need to learn from the loss to Chatfield last year.


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CO 12.03.15
Preseason Countdown: No.49 Arapahoe

Look for Warriors to rebound and secure a 2016 playoff spot...>>

CO 12.09.15
Preseason Countdown: No. 48 Broomfield

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CO 12.10.15
Preseason Countdown: No. 47 Hotchkiss

Look for Hotchkiss to compete for 2A State Championship Title...>>

CO 12.17.15
Preseason Countdown: No.46 Resurrection Christian

Cougars look to rebound from heartbreaking loss in 2015 2A State Championship...>>

CO 1.05.16
Preseason Countdown: No.45 Smoky Hill

The Buffalos can't be overlooked in 2016. ...>>

CO 1.11.16
Preseason Countdown: No.44 University

The Bulldogs will be a favorite to return to the 3A Semifinals...>>

CO 1.14.16
Preseason Countdown No. 43 Horizon

Hawks look to build on the playoff run from last year...>>

CO 1.19.16
Preseason Countdown: No. 42 Grand Junction

Look for Tigers to continue winning ways, need offensive production to go far...>>

CO 1.20.16
Preseason Countdown: No.41 Bayfield

Bayfield will be a favorite to capture 3A Crown...>>

CO 1.26.16
Preseason Countdown: No 40 Highlands Ranch

Highlands Ranch has a young but talented team to compete in 2016...>>

CO 2.05.16
Preseason Countdown: No. 39 Grand Junction Central

The Warriors always have talent..but have to replace 7 starters from 2015...>>

CO 2.10.16
Preseason Countdown: No. 38 Valor Christian

After first losing season in program history, look for the Eagles to rebound...>>

CO 2.18.16
Preseason Countdown: No. 37 Pueblo East

Eagles have a lot of talent returning in 2016, could be year they break through...>>

CO 2.19.16
Preseason Countdown: No. 36 Dakota Ridge

After dissapointing 2015, don't sleep on the Eagles...>>

CO 2.22.16
Preseason Countdown: No. 35 Columbine

Rebels bring talent back from dissapointing 2015 season...>>

CO 2.23.16
Preseason Countdown: No. 34 Lamar

Lamar reloads with some young talent to improve on solid 2015 season...>>

CO 2.29.16
Preseason Countdown: No. 33 ThunderRidge

Grizzlies need to find way to take pressure off talented pitching staff...>>

CO 3.01.16
Preseason Countdown: No.32 Longmont

Longmont returns 7 starters with expectations to make deep playoff run...>>

CO 3.02.16
Preseason Countdown: No.31 Douglas County

The Huskies have enough talent coming back to have success...>>

CO 3.03.16
Preseason Countdown: No. 30 Ralston Valley

The Mustangs could be primed for a long 5A playoff run...>>

CO 3.04.16
Preseason Countdown: No. 29 Lakewood

The Tigers bring back just about everyone from 2015 success...>>

CO 3.04.16
Preseason Countdown: No.28 Mullen

Mustangs lose pitching, but still bring back quality talent in 2016...>>

CO 3.07.16
Preseason Countdown: No.27 Pueblo West

Cyclones have talent coming back for potential 4A Final 8 run...>>

CO 3.08.16
Preseason Countdown: No.26 Windsor

Wizards have two arms and enough returning talent to make a 4A run...>>

CO 3.10.16
Preseason Countdown: No.25 Pueblo South

Colts bring back pitching experience and a stud catcher for 4A a Playoff Run...>>

CO 3.10.16
Preseason Countdown: No.24 Heritage

Loaded with talent, expect the Eagles to get back in playoff action in 2016...>>

CO 3.16.16
Preseason Countdown: No.23 Erie

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CO 3.17.16 
Preseason Countdown: No.22 Fairview

Knights graduated some big time players in 2015, depth of program will be tested...>>

CO 3.18.16
Preseason Countdown: No.21 Wheat Ridge

Farmers looking to reload after graduating some significant talent...>>

CO 3.21.16
Preseason Countdown: No. 20 Brighton

Bulldogs have the talent, just have to believe...>>

CO 3.22.16
Preseason Countdown: No.19 Lewis Palmer

Rangers will have to find a way to replace 7 graduated seniors...>>

CO 3.23.16
Preseason Countdown: No.18 Air Academy

Kadets have talent coming back for 4A playoff run

CO 3.25.16
Preseason Countdown: No.17 Mountain Vista

New faces will have to replace Division 1 pitching talent...>>

CO 3.26.16
Preseason Countdown: No. 16 Cherokee Trail

The Cougars are back on the 5A playoff map, return a ton of talent...>>

CO 3.30.16


The Mountain Lions are flying under the radar going into 2016...>>

CO 3.30.16


Upstart Raptors look to make mark on 4A...>>

CO 3.31.16


Tigers will have more success at 4A this year...>>