Tumwater, W.F. West headline EvCo once again


The more things change, the more they stay the same.

That’s what Tumwater hopes will reign true this season, in the EvCo and beyond, as the two-time defending state champions enter the spring of 2024 with a different look.

Gone are several key contributors from last year’s group, including league MVP Alex Overbay (UNLV) and first-team All-EvCo standouts Brayden Oram (LCC), Trenton Gaither (Wenatchee Valley), and Graysen Reveal (CC).

What the Thunderbirds do bring back, however, is nothing to scoff at.

Eddie Marson earned all-area and first-team all-EvCo honors last spring, and the senior is hitting .438 with four RBIs through five games already this spring.

Juniors Landon Roy and Derek Thompson are also off to hot starts at the plate, and Thompson has allowed just one earned run in two starts on the bump so far this season.

He leads a rotation that is bolstered by Luke Houk, who hasn’t allowed a run through six innings so far this spring, and Liam Karlson, who has already racked up 11 strikeouts without allowing a run through seven and a third on the hill.

Down south, W.F. West will not only be looking to repeat as District 4 champions, but they’ll be looking to avenge last season’s loss to Tumwater in the state semifinals.

They’ll look to do so without several all-league honorees from last spring, including Gavin Fugate (football at WSU) and Hunter Lutman (LCC).

The Bearcats are doing just fine early on this spring, however, thanks in part to an offense that is tearing the cover off the ball. Through seven games, W.F. West has averaged 8.3 runs per game, and six Bearcats are hitting above .300.

Deacon Meller and Grady Westlund have provided the most pop early on, as Westlund has driven in five and is slugging over .770, and Meller isn’t far behind with a slugging percentage of .762. Meller has already connected on five extra-base hits, including a home run in a win over 3A Timberline.

Rochester returns all but one of its all-league first-team honorees from last fall. It’s been a rough start for the Warriors on the offensive side of the ball. Through five games, they’re hitting just .188 as a team, and they’ve averaged nearly 11 strikeouts per game.

To turn that around, they’ll lean on Mason Ubias, who hit .352 last spring, and Tate Quarnstrom, an all-league honoree in 2023. Hayden Pietras has also provided an early boost at the dish, as he’s hit a home run and posted an on-base percentage of .421 through five games.

On the mound, Henry Gramelspacher and Tyler Huston have been the Warriors’ go-to guys. Gramelspacher has already struck out 15 batters through 11 innings and Huston has allowed just two earned runs in nine innings of work.

Going back north, it’s a new regime for Black Hills, as Nicholas Mailhot is the new coach. He takes over a squad that struggled last season, winning just three games, but the early returns this spring are promising. 

Black Hills has won two of its first three, scoring 28 runs in those three games. Ten Wolves have already tallied multiple base hits, including Chase Chandler and Joey Floyd, who lead the way with four each.

Eight different Wolves have appeared on the bump so far this season, and none of them have pitched more than four innings.

Over at Fort Borst Park, the Centralia Tigers will look to take a similar step forward. 

Brady Sprague and Tucker Weaver are leading an experienced team that is looking to get back to the district tournament for the first time since 2019.

Sprague, Jon Leedy, and Blake Seymour have started off strong at the plate, as has the rest of the Centralia offense, which has scored 29 runs through four games.

As the Tigers begin league play, they’ll need more consistency on the mound, as they’ve given up almost nine runs per game. Marcus Miller has had two strong pitching performances early on, allowing just one earned run across six and two-thirds.

Shelton returns a duo of all-league hitters from last spring, and Aberdeen will be looking to take the next step and compete for a spot in the postseason.