Glacier Peak’s Karsten Sweum (10) poses for a portrait as The Herald’s Baseball Player of the Year at Glacier Peak High School on Tuesday, June 18, 2024 in Snohomish, Washington. (Annie Barker / The Herald)

Glacier Peak’s Karsten Sweum (10) poses for a portrait as The Herald’s Baseball Player of the Year at Glacier Peak High School on Tuesday, June 18, 2024 in Snohomish, Washington. (Annie Barker / The Herald)

2024 Baseball Player of the Year: Glacier Peak’s Karsten Sweum

The smoke-throwing senior left-handed pitcher struck out more than two batters per inning.

One of the least fun places to be for area high school baseball players this season was in a batter’s box with Glacier Peak High School pitcher Karsten Sweum unleashing his fastball.

Most of the time, that at bat ended with a strikeout. Sweum’s dominance on the mound, coupled with a strong season as a hitter, led to the Gonzaga University-bound star being named The Herald’s Baseball Player of the Year.

“The first game of the year he went five innings and struck out 12 guys out of the 15 possible outs,” Glacier Peak coach Bob Blair said. “He was just mowing guys down. And that’s the way it was — he was in double-digit strikeouts almost every time he went out there.”

Sweum attacked batters with a four-seam fastball that reached 95 miles per hour and was consistently in the low 90s. For the batters who might have a chance to catch up with that, the left-hander offered a two-seam fastball, a devastating slider and the occasional curveball. That arsenal led to 76 strikeouts in 35 2/3 innings — meaning an average of 2.13 out of three outs per inning came via the “K.” He finished the season 4-2 with a 0.79 ERA. Rival hitters managed to flail their way to a .085 batting average against the 6-foot-4, 230-pounder.

“There were some really big moments, and some rocky moments in between,” said Sweum, who is the cousin of former major leaguer and Jackson High School star Travis Snider. “I learned a lot more from the starts when I struggled than the starts where everything felt right. I was very blessed to have a great coaching staff and the support of my teammates.”

Sweum showed promise right at away at Glacier Peak. As a freshman he started two games on the junior varsity team.

Both outings resulted in no-hitters.

JV coach Cory Wendlandt approached Blair after the second game and made it clear that junior varsity batters had no business facing Sweum.

“He struck out like everybody, and the JV coach came to me and said, ‘This isn’t even fair,’” Blair said. “After that second game, he never pitched in JV again.”

Sweum did continue to play some junior varsity games as a batter, and those at bats paid dividends later on at the varsity level. This year, Sweum batted .388 and got on base 48% of the time. He smacked six doubles, a triple and two homers while driving in 15 runs. He struck out only once in 49 at bats.

Sweum plans to spend the summer playing for the Wenatchee Apple Sox, a team that features mostly college players. Then he plans to continue east to pitch for Gonzaga, but the prospect of the Major League Baseball draft also looms.

For fellow Grizzlies, his contributions reached beyond the numbers. Glacier Peak featured a young team this season, and counted on Sweum for leadership and encouragement.

“He’s a leader,” sophomore pitcher John Grose said. “Everybody looks up to him and follows suit.

“He’s one of the guys that took me under his wing and showed me what to do.”

Though Glacier Peak fell one victory short of the goal of going to the Class 4A state playoffs, Sweum enjoyed dominance on the mound while helping a young team have a strong season.

“We really matured as a team together, and got really close,” Sweum said. “We ended up having four playoff games. To go on a run with these guys and see them step into some big roles was pretty cool.”

Talk to us

> Give us your news tips.

> Send us a letter to the editor.

> More Herald contact information.

More in Sports

From left to right: Arlington’s Kierra Reese and Stanwood’s Ellalee Wortham, Ava DePew and Presley Harris. The foursome, called “Awesome Mix 12,” won the High School Elite division in 2023 and returned to Spokane Hoopfest this year to claim the Women’s Competitive division title. (Photo courtesy Sarah Reese)
Winter Wesco rivals, summer hoopfest champions

Arlington’s Kierra Reese and Stanwood’s Ava DePew, Presley Harris and Ellalee Wortham teamed up to win back-to-back 3-on-3 titles.

UW Husky rowing will be well-represented in Paris at 2024 Olympics

The U.S. eight competes in heat racing on July 29 with finals on Aug. 3.

Golden Knights center Chandler Stephenson (20) skates with the puck during the third period of an NHL hockey game against the Flames at T-Mobile Arena on Saturday, Jan. 13, 2024, in Las Vegas. (Ellen Schmidt / Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Chandler Stephenson’s deal about broader Kraken goals rather than dollar value

The former Golden Knights centerman signed a seven-year deal for $6.25 million with Seattle last week.

Chandler Fry makes a short birdie putt on Hole 6 on Kayak Point Disc Golf Resort’s Red Course. Fry is a professional from Olympia, Wash., and he has tallied 31 career wins. He will be one of the players in this year’s Mixed Pro Open (MPO) division. (Photo courtesy Andy Jaynes)
Disc golf tournament to bring hundreds of competitors to Kayak Point

The fourth annual Kayak Point Open will feature some of the best players in the state and the region this weekend.

Seattle Mariners catcher Cal Raleigh (29) celebrates his two-run home run with a trident as he high fives teammates during the first inning against the Texas Rangers on Tuesday, April 23, 2024, in Arlington, Texas. (Elías Valverde II / Tribune News Service)
Statistics show just how terrible Mariners’ offense has been | Analysis

Seattle leads the AL West, but situational hitting has been a setback.

Everett AquaSox outfielder Lazaro Montes, the Seattle Mariners’ No. 4 ranked prospect, smiles while running onto the field prior to Everett’s game against the Spokane Indians on June 26, 2024 at Funko Field. (Photo courtesy Evan Morud / Everett AquaSox)
AquaSox week in review: Big-prospect Montes one stop closer to dream

RJ Schreck and Will Schomberg lead split against Vancouver.

Seattle Mariners starting pitcher Logan Gilbert throws in the first inning against the Cleveland Guardians on April 7, 2023, at Progressive Field. (John Kuntz / Tribune News Service)
Mariners righty Logan Gilbert earns first MLB All-Star nod

Gilbert has made 18 starts this season and averages 6.5 innings per start, the highest in the AL.

Seattle Mariners starting pitcher Bryan Woo #33 reacts after striking out San Francisco Giants’ Casey Schmitt #6 in the second inning of their MLB game at Oracle Park in San Francisco, Calif., on Monday, July 3, 2023. Woo played for Alameda High School. (Jane Tyska / Bay Area News Group)
Mariners’ Bryan Woo, Gregory Santos in line for rehab outings with Everett AquaSox

The 24-year-old pitcher has been on the injured list since June 25, and his next rotation is Saturday.

Pictured are some of the bracket winners from last year’s Lake Stevens Classic pickleball tournament. (Photo courtesy Pablo Granados)
Registration for Lake Stevens pickleball tournament still open

The 2024 Lake Stevens Classic is July 11-14, no strings attached.

The group of Jordan Spieth, Jason Day and Justin Rose on the third green in the second round of the 2015 U.S. Open golf tournament at Chambers Bay in University Place, Wash., on Friday, June 19, 2015. Spieth finished 5 under par for the tournament, making him the sixth player in history to claim both the Masters and U.S. Open titles the same year. (John David Mercer / Tribune News Service)
With no U.S. Open in sight at Chambers, Pierce County ponders Saudi-backed LIV Golf

Various U.S. Open venues are scheduled through 2042, but the 2015 host is not on the list. Jessica Campbell has been hired as a Seattle Kraken assistant coach and stands to become the first woman behind a bench in NHL history when the hockey season opens in October.
Kraken name Jessica Campbell the NHL’s first woman assistant coach

The 32-year-old strives to ‘carry this torch’ and ‘be a representation to women with the same goals.’

Berkly Catton is selected by the Seattle Kraken with the eight overall pick during the first round of the NHL Draft at Sphere on Friday, June 28, 2024, in Las Vegas. (Bruce Bennett / Tribune News Service)
Why the Kraken must add more offense despite wave-making moves

Seattle added Montour and Stephenson on Monday to help bring in a veteran presence.

Support local journalism

If you value local news, make a gift now to support the trusted journalism you get in The Daily Herald. Donations processed in this system are not tax deductible.