Jackson players mob sophomore pitcher Sam Craig after he struck out the final batter for a complete game shutout victory over Lake Stevens in a Class 4A District 1/2 tournament game May 11, 2023, at Funko Field in Everett. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)

Jackson players mob sophomore pitcher Sam Craig after he struck out the final batter for a complete game shutout victory over Lake Stevens in a Class 4A District 1/2 tournament game May 11, 2023, at Funko Field in Everett. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)

Prep baseball: 5 things to watch for the 2024 season in Snohomish County

A look at the top local storylines in baseball this spring.

With local high school baseball teams being two weeks removed from the start of a new season, many area leagues are in the early stages of league schedules this week.

Here’s a look at five storylines to keep tabs on during the 2024 season:

How will Wesco 4A teams fare in the 2024 postseason?

Last season, Jackson was the lone Wesco school representing Snohomish County in the Class 4A state tournament.

The Timberwolves finished 21-5 overall and 8-1 in league play, earning a league title and their first state berth since 2018 in the process. Jackson’s senior-heavy crew was a hard-hitting group last spring, as the Timberwolves chalked up seven runs per game, which topped Wesco teams across all three divisions.

Jackson ended up sneaking past league rival Lake Stevens in a 1-0 barnburner in a Class 4A District 1/2 tournament loser-out game a season ago, paving its way to the state quarterfinals before bowing out to Puyallup.

The Timberwolves have kept their bats hot to begin the new year, despite graduating a multitude of top-of-the-lineup hitters from 2023. Jackson (3-0) has notched double-digit runs in each of its first three outings, including a 22-piece in a shutout over Marysville Pilchuck on Wednesday behind a 4-for-5 showing at the plate from junior Hawkeye Delgado, who racked two of his three home runs on the week in the win. Returners Sam Craig and Chase Halvorson, a Seattle University commit, provide Jackson with a one-two punch on the mound.

Lake Stevens and Glacier Peak both figure to be challengers for a postseason push as the new season ramps up. The Vikings, who graduated four all-league selections after finishing 15-8 (7-2 league) last spring, including ace and league MVP Wyatt Queen, have perhaps the most talent to replace in order to remain in contention for a state playoff bid. Returning junior shortstop Aspen Alexander boasted a .455 batting average with a .560 on-base percentage last season. Senior right-hander Trey Nance helped lead the Vikings (1-2) to their first win on the year over Lynnwood on Wednesday, dealing nine strikeouts in a no-hitter. Lake Stevens is in its first season under head coach David Benson, who previously led his alma mater Cascade.

Glacier Peak, which fizzled out in the opening round at districts in 2023 after an 8-13 overall mark, looks to right the ship after a 12-10 season in 2022. The Grizzlies are led by seniors Bodie Stevenson and Karsten Sweum, who were both all-league picks last season. Both have assisted Glacier Peak to an early 3-1 mark in non-league games. Sweum, a Gonzaga University commit, batted .479 with a 1.191 on-base plus slugging as a junior.

Can Edmonds-Woodway remain atop Wesco 3A/2A South?

Edmonds-Woodway’s Andreas Simonsen fouls off a pitch against Ferndale in a Class 3A District 1 semifinal game May 9, 2023, at Funko Field in Everett. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)

Edmonds-Woodway’s Andreas Simonsen fouls off a pitch against Ferndale in a Class 3A District 1 semifinal game May 9, 2023, at Funko Field in Everett. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)

Edmonds-Woodway has a challenge to keep its top status in the deep Wesco 3A/2A South.

The Warriors reached the Class 3A state quarterfinals for the first time since 2018 and graduated a strong senior class in 2023 after securing a league title with 20-6 overall mark (13-1 league) last season. The Warriors graduated four all-league selections, including The Herald’s 2023 Player of the Year Dylan Schlenger.

A new-look varsity roster looks to keep the Warriors’ winning ways going this spring. The team features 10 underclassmen, including returning sophomores Trevelyan Podawiltz and Andreas Simonsen, who combined to hit over .300 in 85 at-bats as freshmen. Seniors Diego Escandon, a Basin Community College commit, and Thomas Shultz were both all-league league picks last spring, each batting above .350.

Edmonds-Woodway is off to a 2-3 start, picking up its first league win on Wednesday 1-0 over Shorewood behind a shutout performance on the mound from sophomore Lukas Wanke.

Who will emerge out of the jumbled Wesco 3A/2A North?

Monroe’s Cooper Barrow hits a sacrifice fly to extend his team’s lead against Stanwood in a winner-to-state Class 3A District 1 tourament game May 13, 2023, at Funko Field in Everett. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)

Monroe’s Cooper Barrow hits a sacrifice fly to extend his team’s lead against Stanwood in a winner-to-state Class 3A District 1 tourament game May 13, 2023, at Funko Field in Everett. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)

Wesco 3A/2A North squads sport just one winning record amongst the league’s eight teams entering Thursday.

Stanwood, which finished 13-13 overall last spring and was a game away from a state berth, currently stands at 3-1 with early-season victories over Anacortes, Burlington-Edison and Everett. Snohomish (16-6, 13-1) and Monroe (19-7, 12-2) were the class of the conference in 2023, as no other teams went above .500.

Monroe is fresh off a round-of-16 appearance at the Class 3A state tournament a year ago, while the Panthers look to shake off an early exit at districts, where they were upset as the No. 1 seed in the 3A District 1 tourney by ninth-seeded Mountlake Terrace before falling in a loser-out tilt against the Bearcats in the consolation bracket.

Snohomish is having a rough go in the initial stages of the 2024 campaign, having dropped its first five games while averaging just 1.2 runs per contest. Monroe is off to a 1-2 start. This could perhaps open up a pathway for another school to get a crack at a league crown. The Spartans, along with Arlington (2-3, 1-0), which was a perennial league powerhouse from 2017-21, could both be options to challenge for league supremacy.

Will Mountlake Terrace maintain its new-found state streak?

Mountlake Terrace’s Griffin Potter tags out a runner at home with the help of an outfield assist against Edmonds-Woodway in the Class 3A District title game May 13, 2023, at Funko Field in Everett. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)

Mountlake Terrace’s Griffin Potter tags out a runner at home with the help of an outfield assist against Edmonds-Woodway in the Class 3A District title game May 13, 2023, at Funko Field in Everett. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)

Mountlake Terrace, which captured back-to-back state tournament appearances for the first time in school history last season, figures to be one of the frontrunners again when it comes to the Wesco 3A/2A South race in 2024.

The Hawks finished 16-11 overall and 8-6 in league a season ago with a runner-up finish in the Class 3A District 1 tournament, as well as a trip to the round of 16 in the 3A state bracket. The battle-tested Terrace group has an experienced roster with 10 seniors coming back, headlined by returning first-team all-league infielder Talan Zenk, an Everett Community College signee. The senior batted a scorching .418 with a .587 on-base percentage, striking out just 10 times, in 2023. The Hawks also return senior outfielder Tyler Shankle and right-handed pitcher Dayton Nickolson, both were all-league choices as juniors last spring.

Terrace is rolling in the early portion of the season with a 3-1 start, beginning its league schedule on a high note with a 7-0 victory over Shorecrest on Wednesday.

Can Lynnwood climb back into state contention in 2024?

Lynnwood starter Jace Hampson delivers a pitch during a game against Lake Stevens on March 17, 2023, at Lake Stevens High School in Lake Stevens. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)

Lynnwood starter Jace Hampson delivers a pitch during a game against Lake Stevens on March 17, 2023, at Lake Stevens High School in Lake Stevens. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)

Following a Class 3A District 1 title, the Royals booked their first trip to state since 2016 during the 2022 season. Lynnwood fell short of replicating that success last spring. The Royals went 6-14 overall and 5-9 in league in 2023, failing to make the district tournament.

The Royals (1-3) and new coach Jason Shaw will have to navigate through a stacked Wesco 3A/2A South, but their lineup is anchored by one of the area’s top seniors recruits. Shortstop Jace Hampson, an Oregon commit, posted a .541 on-base percentage, compiling 19 runs scored and seven doubles as a junior. His top lineup-mate Keenan Masters, a Washington commit, has transferred to Puyallup. But the Royals appear to be getting a boost in their rotation after senior Gavin Harrington tossed a no-hitter in the team’s opener against Arlington.

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