With 13 players back from last year, including seven starters, the Mountlake Terrace Hawks have plenty to feel upbeat about as they prepare for the upcoming prep baseball season.
The Hawks will open their 2018 campaign at home on Tuesday, March 13, with a 4 p.m. non-conference game against the visiting Mariner Marauders.
Terrace Coach Andrew Watters is already sensing the good vibes among his players even before the first pitch of the season has been thrown. “This is a fun and positive group,” he said. “We should be fun to watch as we battle in a very competitive Wesco South (Conference).”
It’s no surprise there are smiles all around the Hawk practice field; the experienced team could be a contender for a conference title this year and have a great chance to get back to postseason play.
“First and foremost we want to return to Anacortes for the district tournament,” Watters said of the team’s year-end goals.
After missing out on the playoffs in 2016, the Hawks qualified for the District 1/2 2A Baseball Tournament in Anacortes last year. The team finished the tourney with a 2-2 record after going 10-10 in the regular season.
“For now we are just focused on our first game and trying to get off to a good start,” Watters said.
With three-fourths of the infield starters returning from last year, the Hawks should have a solid defense around the bases. Back for 2018 are second baseman Jonathan Kumai, shortstop Kendall Yackley and third baseman Matthew Johnson.
“The three of them are great together around our infield,” Watters said.
Yackley and Johnson are also part of a strong Hawk pitching staff that also includes Josh Ernst, Jesse James Martineau, Tanner Boe, Dillon Gordon and Bret Serres. “We have some depth and we will use it to our advantage,” Watters said.
Terrace will need plenty of plenty pitching help this season as the schedule is dotted with teams that qualified for the 3A state tournament last year. The Hawks play back-to-back games against Edmonds-Woodway on April 3 and 4 – the Warriors finished fourth in state last year – before facing state tourney qualifier Snohomish on April 6. Then in the regular season finale on April 27, Terrace will take on another state tourney participant in Arlington.
The postseason District 1/2 2A tournament gets underway on May 1; the tourney host Anacortes Seahawks finished third in the 2A state championships last year.
Mountlake Terrace Hawks 2018 Baseball
Coach: Andrew Watters (19th year)
First game: versus Mariner, Tuesday, March 13, 4 p.m. at Mountlake Terrace High School
2018 schedule: click http://www.wescoathletics.com/index.php?pid=0.3.40.6.320
–By Doug Petrowski