Preseason Countdown: No. 33 Palmer 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: Palmer Ridge
Preseason Rank: 33
2014 Record: 16-8
Conference: Pikes Peak
CHSAA Class: 4A
Head Coach: Steve Whiting
Playoff Run: Lost to Longmont 16-15 in 4A Final 8
2014 Final Rank: 39
Returning Starters: 5
Returning Pitchers: 6

Jake Grubesic, RHP/OF, 2015 (Midland Commit)
Cole Hurford, OF/INF, 2015
Jack Stamper, SS/RHP, 2015
Kurt Larson, OF/P, 2015

Part of the Bears success last year was because of how aggressive they were on the bases. They stole 50 bases to generate a lot of runs, but 32 of those came from graduated seniors including 15 from 2014 Graduated Captain Carter Thorne, and 7 from Captain Billy Schulze. Replacing that leadership and speed on the bases will be tough.

Jack Stamper, 5-foot-10, 150 Pounds, SS/P had 78 AB's in 2014 hitting .346 with 20 runs, 19 RBI's, and 2 HR.

Captains Carter Thorne and Billy Schulze: Graduated

Cole Hurford led the Bears in B.A. (.517), Hits (42), Runs (30) RBI's, (27), Doubles (12) HR (3) OBA (.560) SLG (.817) & OPS (1.377)

Palmer Ridge was so close to making it to the 4A state semi-finals last year they probably feel like they were robbed of it. In the Final 8 against Niwot they lost 5-4, but in the last inning the Bears were down by two runs in the top of the 7th and tied the score, however in the bottom of the 7th the Bears caught Niwot in a run-down between 3rd in home only to have the call overturned for defensive obstruction which was the winning run of the game. In the game to reach the 4A Semi-Finals, the Bears overcame an early 5-0 deficit against Longmont to take a 13-8 lead after four innings only to lose in heartbreaking fashion 16-15. The Bears return a good group of talent for 2015. Led by 2015 Jake Grubesic, the 5-foot-10, 160 pound RHP Midland commit was nasty on the mound in big games for the Bears going 9-1 on the season with 1.71 ERA in 53 IP. 2015 Cole Hurford, 6-foot, 185 pounds, OF/INF, returns to anchor the offense coming off a year in which he led the Bears in every offensive category in 2014 (Refer above). Jack Stamper, had 78 AB's in 2014 hitting .346 with 20 runs, 19 RBI's, and 2 HR. Kurt Larson at 6-foot-3, 170 pounds brings back 57 AB's from 2014 and adds some speed to the bases and also pitches. The Bears did graduate some quality talent, but they also have a good mix of quality talent coming back to expect another deep run in the 4A playoffs in 2015.


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