By John Miller/For OzarksSportsZone.com
If you attend “Senior Day” festivities this spring at Glendale, you might want to bring a chair and maybe a snack, because you’ll probably be there awhile.
Twelve seniors and 15 total lettermen return for the Falcons this spring, one season removed from a 20-win campaign that ended abruptly in the opening round of districts to eventual champion Nixa.
“Our two biggest strengths are experience and depth,” Glendale coach Mike Snodgrass said. “We return seven starters and other big contributors from last season. We also have a strong pipeline of talent. I believe we will be a strong hitting team with competitive pitching and good defense.”
Only one key player is missing from last year – centerfielder Will Sachs, now playing at Drury.
“Will provided great speed and a good stick as our leadoff hitter the past two seasons,” Snodgrass said. “Deciding who will bat first is one of our biggest question marks going into the season.”
This spring the Falcons will be led by four-year starter OF Owen Gann, who led the team in home runs (3) and RBIs (31) while batting .303 at the plate in his junior season.
Fellow senior OF Tripp Horsey should also contribute at the plate after leading the team in hits (39) last year and hitting .394 with two homers and 18 driven in.
Senior 1B/C Eli Wells should provide some thump in the lineup. Last season, he drove in 23 and hit .309. Senior SS Tanner Kellerstrass is a three-year starter who hit .259 last spring.
On the mound, Glendale will get contributions from the likes of seniors 3B/P Trace Clinkenbeard, 2B/P Noah Lachnit, 1B/P Conner Burnett, and 1B/P Gavin Burlew. Clinkenbeard finished 4-3 last year in seven starts with an ERA of 3.00.
Lachnit threw the second-most innings of anyone on the roster, working 42.2 IP with a 2.30 ERA. He won three games and saved two others.
Burnett posted a 3.18 ERA while striking out 30 batters in 39.2 IP. Burlew tossed only 3 innings, giving up 3 hits. He was better known for his contributions at the plate, batting .417 with 11 RBIs and ending the year as the team’s cleanup hitter.
Glendale also returns senior C Dylan Stowell, the team’s backup catcher the last two years. OF Bronson Shoemaker could see time in the leadoff spot thanks to his great speed. P Cole Phillips will help out on the mound, as will junior IF/P Ethan Paschke, who will likely split time between the mound and the infield. Junior OF/IF/P Luke Parrish should also provide versatility.
Snodgrass will also rely on the play of his newcomers—a group that includes juniors Dawson Robert, Brett Henry, and Clayton Compere and sophomores Ty Wilmsmeyer, Thomas Brand, Kendrick Scott, and Max Elmer.
“We have very high expectations for 2017,” Snodgrass said. “At the same time, we realize how difficult our schedule, conference, and district will be. Glendale players realize we have potential to be a strong team if we will play as a team.”