Baseball rankings: Three defending champions among preseason No. 1 teams

Three defending state baseball champions are starting the season right where they left off. In the initial CHSAANow.com baseball rankings, Cherokee Trail, Valor Christian and Holly come in at No. 1 in their respective classes.

Cherokee Trail beat Rocky Mountain for the Class 5A championship, Valor won two-straight games to beat Pueblo West for the 4A title and Holly claimed the 1A crown from Fleming.

The Cougars claim the top spot of the 5A rankings with six first-place votes. Centennial League foe, Cherry Creek, sits right behind them at No. 2. The Bruins are looking to end a four-year championship drought in 2017.

Last year's runner-up, Rocky Mountain, starts the season at No. 3.

Outside of the top three teams, only Rock Canyon (No. 7) and Pine Creek (No. 10) received first-place votes to start the season.

Valor Christian D'Evelyn baseball

(Lance Wendt/LanceWendt.com)

In 4A, Valor Christian, led by new coach Brian Bonn, claimed nine first-place votes to start the season with No. 3 Pueblo West being the only other ranked team to receive one.

Mountain View will start the year at No. 2 with Windsor and Longmont rounding out the top five.

Erie takes the No. 8 spot, meaning that the final four teams that remained in the 4A state tournament on the final weekend will come into the season ranked and carrying high expectations.

University will start the season as the No. 1 team in 3A. The Bulldogs advanced to the semifinals last year before losing 3-2 to Manitou Springs, who finished as the state runner-up.

The Mustangs enter the season at No. 7.

Delta, a 4A team a year ago, sits right behind Manitou at No. 8. Defending champion, Fatih Christian sits high in the rankings at No. 2 as they hope to defend their title.

Paonia enters the season as the No. 1 team in 2A. It's the same seed the Eagles took into last year's state tournament where they were upset by Limon in the semifinals.

The Badgers lost in the state championship game, but will enter the season with the No. 6 ranking.

Defending champ, Dawson will start the season at No. 2.

Sedgwick County took enough votes to claim the No. 4 spot to start the year. 

Like Paonia, the Cougars went into last year's state tournament with a high seed, only to be shocked in the semifinals.

Holly 1A baseball champions

(Matt Mathewes/MVPSportsPics.com)

Holly was the only team in the preseason rankings to grab a unanimous No.1 ranking as the Wildcats took all nine first-place votes.

State runner-up, Fleming, enters the season at No. 3 with Eads sliding into the No. 2 spot.

Dove Creek starts the season at No. 7 after reaching the semifinal game last spring. They upset Granada in the first round of the tournament.

Granada was the No. 1 seed in the bracket this year, but will start the 2017 season with the No. 5 ranking.

The rankings, voted upon by coaches and select media members, are the official polls of the Association.

During the regular season, new polls are released each Monday.

Complete rankings for all classes are below.

CHSAANow.com Baseball Polls

Voted upon by coaches and select media members around the state. These rankings have no bearing on postseason seeding.

Coaches and media members looking to vote should email rcasey@chsaa.org.

Go to: 5A | 4A | 3A | 2A | 1A

Class 5A
RK TEAM W-L PTS
1 Cherokee Trail (6) 0-0 94
2 Cherry Creek (1) 0-0 86
3 Rocky Mountain (2) 0-0 79
4 Mullen 0-0 46
5 Ralston Valley 0-0 43
6 Regis Jesuit 0-0 42
7 Rock Canyon (1) 0-0 32
8 Grandview 0-0 30
9 ThunderRidge 0-0 29
10 Pine Creek (1) 0-0 23
Others receiving votes:
Heritage 21, Broomfield 14, Mountain Vista 14, Dakota Ridge 12, Legend 11, Grand Junction Central 9, Chaparral 4, Legacy 4, Castle View 3, Chatfield 2, Douglas County 2, Denver East 1, Fairview 1, Grand Junction 1, Monarch 1, Prairie View 1.

Class 4A
RK TEAM W-L PTS
1 Valor Christian (9) 0-0 99
2 Mountain View 0-0 78
3 Pueblo West (1) 0-0 67
4 Windsor 0-0 57
5 Longmont 0-0 42
6 Silver Creek 0-0 35
7 Canon City 0-0 32
8 Erie 0-0 28
9 Air Academy 0-0 24
10 Denver North 0-0 19
Others receiving votes:
Northridge 18, Evergreen 8, D'Evelyn 6, Lewis-Palmer 6, Wheat Ridge 6, Green Mountain 5, Pueblo South 4, The Classical Academy 4, Palmer Ridge 3, Discovery Canyon 2, Fort Morgan 2, Roosevelt 2, Thompson Valley 2, Pueblo Centennial 1, Pueblo County 1.

Class 3A
RK TEAM W-L PTS
1 University (6) 0-0 101
2 Faith Christian (2) 0-0 91
3 Lamar (1) 0-0 90
4 La Junta (1) 0-0 61
5 Valley 0-0 54
6 Eaton 0-0 51
7 Manitou Springs 0-0 49
8 Delta (1) 0-0 33
9 St. Mary's 0-0 31
10 Bayfield 0-0 27
Others receiving votes:
Kent Denver 25, Colorado Springs Christian 16, Peak to Peak 10, Brush 6, Gunnison 6, Colorado Academy 5, Buena Vista 2, Lutheran 1, Resurrection Christian 1.

Class 2A
RK TEAM W-L PTS
1 Paonia (5) 0-0 81
2 Dawson (2) 0-0 65
3 Dayspring Christian 0-0 49
4 Sedgwick County 0-0 46
5 Hotchkiss 0-0 37
6 Limon 0-0 35
7 Rocky Ford 0-0 31
8 Akron (2) 0-0 30
9 County Line 0-0 29
10 Sargent 0-0 18
Others receiving votes:
Crowley County 15, Swink 12, Peyton 10, Front Range Christian 9, Haxtun 9, Del Norte 5, Center 4, Denver Christian 3, Yuma 3, Clear Creek 2, Burlington 1, Gilpin County 1.

Class 1A
RK TEAM W-L PTS
1 Holly (8) 0-0 80
2 Eads 0-0 61
3 Fleming 0-0 60
4 Nucla 0-0 48
5 Granada 0-0 42
6 Cheyenne Wells 0-0 30
7 Dove Creek 0-0 25
8 Cornerstone Christian 0-0 21
9 Manzanola 0-0 19
10 Stratton/Liberty 0-0 13
Others receiving votes:
Cotopaxi 9, Otis 9, Peetz 9, Rocky Mountain Lutheran 7, Caliche 4, Genoa-Hugo/Karval 2, Antonito 1.