By Chris Parker
Glendale softball showed real improvement last year by winning 10 games, which was more than the nine games the Lady Falcons won in the previous five seasons combined. The season finished with Glendale picking up its first district win in a decade before falling to Nixa in the district semifinals.
There were improvements across the board for Glendale with batting average going from .221 to .350, on-base percentage going from .304 to .436, runs scored going from 64 to 173 and RBIs going from 52 to 141.
“Our turnaround at Glendale has been predicated on buying into a culture of competition from seniors down to freshman,” Glendale Head Coach Jeff Mason said. “We are in the weight room and working incredibly hard at practices. The leadership from top down has set new expectations for the girls coming in as freshman now. How to work hard to achieve the goals they set before themselves. They expect to win games and aren’t scared of anyone in front them.”
Don’t expect the momentum gained from last year’s strong season to slow down this year.
“This is the best summer we’ve had when it comes to on the field success and in the weight room. Our school district has done a great job providing us with the facilities to be able to put the hard work in, which allows us to compete at a higher level each year. Our schedule has been beefed up quite a bit as the expectations are rising within our program. The girls know who they have to compete against this upcoming year, if they don’t improve with the competition they will not be satisfied with the results,” Mason said.
Sophomore Riley King and freshman Maddy Meierer will be the primary pitchers for Glendale this year.
King, a left-handed pitcher, threw almost every inning for Glendale last year. She will play first base when not pitching. King provided pop at the plate with 26 RBI last year with a .448 batting average.
“Riley is a very talented lefty in the circle that has multiple out pitches and great command in the zone. We have a lot of confidence when Riley toes the rubber for our group,” Mason said.
Meierer will give the Falcons a strong second option at pitcher.
“Maddy Meierer is a very talented incoming freshman that had a great summer with our varsity group in our summer league games. She will provide depth at the pitching position as well as being a middle of the order hitter and really solid defensive first basemen when she’s not in the circle. I have no doubt she will have a great high school career at Glendale and everyone will be hearing her name down the road,” Mason said.
Mason expects one of his team’s big strengths to be that 1-2 pitching punch.
“One of our biggest strengths this season should be our young pitching staff. We have Riley King who is special from the left handed side and Maddy Meierer who is a tall righty. They have different pitches and styles that really complement one another. Both have solid command of the zone and can attack batters with various pitches. We have to step up defensively behind these girls and get the job done when the ball is put in play,” Mason said.
Kyndall Phillips will be a leader for Glendale at shortstop and catcher. She Glendale’s best hitter last year with a .530 batting average and a .616 on-base percentage. She knocked in a team-high 29 runs and scored a team-high 32 runs.
“Kyndall is a truly special player that has been incredibly influential in turning our program around over the past few years. She is our defensive and offensive spark. Has incredible hands and footwork at shortstop with the potential to make special, game changing, plays. Her bat, speed, and decision making transfer her into a scoring machine on the offensive side,” Mason said. “Kyndall has seen this program go from woefully poor to competitive over the past few years. She has been the same amazing person throughout. She has shown the perseverance and grace that many athletes don’t possess.”
Karsyn Phillips will play second base as a freshman to solidify the middle of the infield. Emily Phillips will split time at third base and shortstop. She hit .418 with a .530 on-base percentage while knocking in 23 runs and score 28 runs.
Megan Bredehoeft is a freshman utility player that will serves as the primary catcher. Trinity Zachary is competing for time at third base and in the outfield.
The outfield will be primarily comprised of Kayla Craft (junior centerfield), Madi Marsh (senior left field) and Anna Sallee (sophomore right field).
Mason has raised the level of difficulty for Glendale’s schedule while keeping the expectations high.
“Our expectations as a team are to compete against every team on our schedule. We expect to finish in the top half of the Ozark Conference and compete to win a very tough district. While we are still young as a whole, with many freshman and sophomores contributing. We expect to earn the respect of the area on the diamond through our play on the field,” Mason said.
Glendale opens the regular season on Aug. 31 at Nixa against the host Lady Eagles and Waynesville.