By Justin Sampson (For OzarksSportsZone.com)
Glendale put together a 22-8 campaign last spring to earn a share of the Ozark Conference title before falling to Ozark by one run in the district semifinals.
The effort earned Mike Snodgrass conference Coach of the Year honors and proved to be his swan song with the Falcons.
Now, Glendale alumnus Jim Julian takes over the program after 16 years in Forsyth.
“Coach Snodgrass has done a lot for me in the transition,” said Julian. “The assistants are all holdovers from last year and have been helpful too. They have all been here for several years.”
Julian’s brother, Dan, is one of those assistants, providing even more incentive for the 1995 graduate and former Evangel Crusader to keep up with Glendale baseball when he was able.
He could have his work cut out for him in his first campaign. The Falcons return eight seniors, but lost nine letterman, so while there aren’t as many strangers to a Class 5 schedule, younger talent will be called upon to contribute.
“They had a successful junior varsity season last year, but it’s pretty much a new team from last year’s varsity squad. That transition will be a big thing. We are trying to get stronger offensively and defensively.”
Senior Ethan Paschke (P) and junior Ty Wilmsmeyer (P/3B) are the returning All-OC selections and will be tasked with anchoring the pitching staff. Paschke went 8-1 last year with a 1.88 ERA to earn Second Team honors.
Wilmsmeyer was an honorable mention as a sophomore and also contributed at the plate, hitting a solid .421. He spent the summer with the Midwest Nationals and his diligence gives Julian reason to believe he will make a jump this spring.
“He pays attention to detail and is a student of the game,” said Julian. “He is always doing something baseball-wise. He has a strong arm, runs well, and swings well.”
Senior Luke Parrish (P/3B) should also challenge for innings after a promising summer on the mound. He started just one game last year but carried a 2.57 ERA with 13 strikeouts in 16.1 innings.
Offensively, look for seniors Brett Henry (OF) and Clayton Compere (C) along with junior Thomas Brand (OF) to be integral parts of the offense and see a bigger role in the field.
“I think we are going to be pretty decent defensively. We just have to learn to hit that varsity pitching. If we can put up runs and keep ourselves competitive in games, I think we will mature fast.”
New leadership and introducing this level of new blood to varsity routinely leads to more questions than answers in the first month of the season. Julian is ready for the challenge of elevating his coaching to a Class 5 level and have the Falcons poised to push for another conference crown.
“It will be a jump. I’m eager and anxious at the same time. The Ozark Conference is always tough. It will be a dog fight no matter who you’re playing, so it should be fun.”