Prep softball preview: 5 storylines to watch

Local aces abound in the circle, and area powers look to keep rolling.

Here are five storylines to watch from the local prep softball scene this spring:

1. Aces are abundant. Wesco is home to several elite pitchers, including Lake Stevens’ Sarah Johnson (signed with Towson University), Monroe’s McKenzie Schulz (signed with University of Washington) and Sarah Reeves, Jackson’s Iyanla Pennington (committed to Coastal Carolina University) and Snohomish’s Bailey Greenlee (signed with Missouri State University). The Cascade Conference is home to a top hurler as well in South Whidbey’s Mackenzee Collins (signed with Colorado State University).

2. There probably won’t be a lot of changes in Wesco 4A. The Timberwolves, who have won three straight 4A Northwest District 1 titles, will surround Pennington with shortstop Kristina Day (University of Massachusetts) and catcher Sam Mutolo (Western Washington University). The Vikings return all-Wesco 4A selections Sydney Haynes and Camryn DuBois. The Bearcats will work to develop a younger nucleus that includes junior Elise Allen and sophomores Paige Stringer and Hannah Hvitved. And Glacier Peak could be a factor this season. “Glacier Peak has a freshman pitcher, Mikayla Miller, who should help a talented team. (The Grizzlies have) a solid roster throughout,” said Jackson coach Kyle Peacocke.

3. There probably won’t be a lot of change in Wesco 3A North, either. “Everett returns Megan Gordon and Rachel Christiansen, Marysville Pilchuck returns Mackenzie Justice and Chloe Morgan, and Snohomish returns Ruby Butler and Bailey Greenlee,” said Marysville Getchell coach Mike Moran. “All are excellent players and all have good teams returning.” Snohomish also returns outfielder Sami Reynolds, a University of Washington signee. Everett should benefit from the addition of pitcher Kassidy Millar, a transfer from Lakewood. “Snohomish (is a) balanced team with very good pitching, hitting and defense, and some speed at the top of the lineup,” said Seagulls coach Mike Millar, who will coach his daughter, Kassidy, this season. “The favorite to win the North, they should push for a run at a state title. (Marysville Pilchuck has a) very good lineup top to bottom and a very solid defense. This team returns many veteran players that can challenge Snohomish and (us) for the league title and make a push to get back to state. (We) have very good pitching, and great team speed can lead this veteran group to state for a fourth consecutive year while challenging Marysville Pilchuck and Snohomish for the North title.”

4. There might be some change in Wesco 3A South. The league has been ruled by Meadowdale for the past few seasons, and while the Mavericks project to field another solid squad this spring, they are in the process of developing some younger players for their next core group. Mountlake Terrace, which advanced to the 2A state tournament last season, and Edmonds-Woodway should also challenge for the league crown. The Warriors return all-conference picks Ciara Ortiz (shortstop) and Mariah Woolery (pitcher). “I expect Edmonds-Woodway to be very strong, returning lots of seniors and juniors,” Snohomish coach Lou Kennedy said. Other top players include Shorecrest’s Shaylee Scott and Shorewood’s Allison Namba.

5. Cedarcrest starts the year on top of the Cascade Conference. Cedarcrest won the conference title last season and advanced to the 2A state tournament, and returns the conference’s reigning player of the year in Elaine Townley. “Cedarcrest will be strong,” Archbishop Murphy coach Jeff Latta said. “Cedar Park Christian and Granite Falls return a good amount of starters, South Whidbey returns its ace pitcher, (and we) return a solid core group, including one first-team all-conference member (Lexi Klaudt) and a second-team all-conference member (Brooke Jordan), along with a nice group of underclassmen.” Other top players include Cedar Park Christian’s Cheyeanne Nelson and Cedarcrest’s Michaela Carter and Morgan Brown.

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