Coming off their fourth straight postseason appearance last year, the 2018 Lynnwood Royals baseball team will look to make that five straight as this season’s campaign got underway this past week.
Under the watchful eye of new head coach Andrew Knudsen, the Royals return several quality ball players that should have them in the mix for a playoff spot in the Wesco 3A South conference.
“I think we’re coming along well. We’ve got a lot of good athletes and a lot of experience in our underclassmen which I think is going to bode well for us. We have a good core of juniors and seniors that have experience at this level. They know what to expect from this level of play and everything shows me that they are ready to go,” said Knudsen about his squad.
As experienced as this team might be, it will have to find it’s way without two former players that graduated last year. Pitcher and center fielder, Jared Whitman, and one of the best players to have played in Wesco in recent years, Kyler McMahon, who patrolled shortstop for the Royals and is now on the roster at top ranked Oregon State.
Knudsen highlighted some of those experienced returning players to watch for this Lynnwood team.
Senior Jacob Goudzwaard, a left-handed pitcher, has been on the varsity team since his sophomore season. Junior catcher Carson Speegle has been on varsity since he was a freshman. Sophomore center fielder Connor Combs returns for his second varsity season. Junior Nick Holmes will take over as shortstop for the graduated McMahon. Pitchers to watch this season are Juniors Josh Latimer and Danny Smith.
“I have high expectations,” said Knudsen. “We’re aiming to get to playoffs, win the district title and then move on from there. That’s the goal.”
The consensus around the league is that Edmonds-Woodway and Shorewood are the teams to beat in the Wesco 3A south, while the experienced Royals should be very competitive alongside Meadowdale and Shorecrest in the battle for those coveted playoff spots.
Lynnwood’s first game was this past Wednesday, March 14, when they lost to Juanita, 9-4. For their next game, they will travel to Lake Stevens to take on the 4A Vikings on Tuesday, March 20, at 4 p.m. at Lake Stevens High School.
–Story and photos by Scott Williams