Falcons have positional depth, search for new pitching

Not many programs can lose a fantastic senior class and have a great group waiting in the wings to take over. Fortunately for the Glendale Falcons, they are an exception.

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The Falcons lost five key seniors from last year’s 15-15 club that won the Ozark Conference with an 8-1 record and lost in the district semis to eventual champion Kickapoo. First team all-conference players Alex Austin, Austin Huff, Chandler Collins, and Sam Parrish have all moved on, as did Brad Nutter, who led Glendale in hits each of the last two seasons.

However, even with so many key pieces gone, the Falcons have plenty of talent and experience back.

“Our team has experience and depth in all eight defensive positions,” Glendale coach Mike Snodgrass said. “Replacing the pitching that graduated will be the big question this season.”

Both Austin and Huff were standouts on the mound last season for the Falcons. With them gone, Snodgrass hopes to get significant pitching contributions from senior Drew Thiemann—who won two games on the mound last spring. Juniors Conner Burnett, Noah Lachnit, Gavin Burlew, and Trace Clinkenbeard all have varsity experience and, according to Snodgrass, “will pitch significant innings.”

Glendale also brings back juniors Cole Phillips, Caleb Wotring, Tripp Horsey, and Owen Gann to its mix of pitchers, as well as sophomores Luke Parrish and Ethan Paschke.

Position-wise, Glendale’s in pretty good shape. Seniors Dayton Climer (catcher), Cayden Stark (second base) and Will Sachs (centerfield) will all be key cogs this spring. Sachs takes over in centerfield for Parrish.

Juniors Owen Gann, Eli Wells, and Clinkenbeard are also returning with three years of varsity experience and should help lead the offense. Returning starting shortstop Tanner Kellerstrass should also help provide stability.

Even with so many players returning, there are starting positions up for grabs.

“We also have some talented lettermen who are vying for starting spots,” Snodgrass said.

Horsey, Bronson Shoemaker, Lachnit, and Dylan Stowell will provide depth and team speed and could compete for extra playing time.

In addition, brings back its entire coaching staff of Snodgrass, Tim Blasi, Tyler Goss, Dan Julian, and Jeff Mason.

“As usual, Glendale has high hopes and expectations for this season,” Snodgrass said. “Our strengths will be our offense, team speed, and depth. We expect to be competitive in every game we play this season.”