By Chris Parker
Emmanuel Flores takes over as the head coach of the Joplin softball program. Flores was previously the head softball and baseball coach at Liberty (Wentzville).
Flores was sold on Joplin after a visit to see the school and athletic facilities.
“They showed me that they take a lot of pride in their sports programs as well as academics and that means a lot to these student-athletes because of the amount of time they put in,” Flores said.
Joplin softball hasn’t had a winning season since 2015. The Lady Eagles have won just eight and six games each of the past two seasons.
“In order for us to get things back on track we have to focus on the controllable. At the end of the day we can’t completely control the results on the scoreboard. We can completely control our attitude and effort every day and that’s what we will focus on. The results will take care of themselves,” Flores said.
Three players could see time in the circle at pitcher including: Brittney Shryock (junior), Madison Tracy (sophomore) and Jill McDaniel (freshman).
Candidates to start on the infield include: Layni Merriman (junior), Jocee Weston (senior), Addison Wallace (senior), Reece Shroer (junior), Liz Snyder (sophomore), Tracy and Shryock.
The outfield will be comprised of some combination of Gabby Quinn (senior), Tatum Stogsdill (junior), Madeleine Farber (senior), Jessalyn Adams (sophomore) and McDaniel.
Quinn, Wallace and Tracy have stood out with their off-season work according to their new coach.
“Gabby Quinn has stood out because of her leadership. She has been to our workouts every day and she works extremely hard. She also plays multiple sports for our school and has really set the bar high and holds teammates accountable. She has all of the skills to be a great leader for our team this year,” Flores said. “Addison Wallace and Madisyn Tracy have stood out as well for their ability to show up and put in the hard work every day. Also, we have a great group of freshmen that have shown up almost every day and have worked extremely hard.”
Senior leadership will be a strength for Joplin, while improving consistency will be a point of emphasis.
“Our team’s biggest strength this year will our senior leadership. We have a great group of seniors who work really hard and are setting a great example for our younger girls,” Flores said. “Our biggest need for improvement will be the need to be consistent in our approach to the game every day. We can’t let things out of our control affect the way we play.”
Joplin will travel to Carthage on Aug. 27 for a jamboree with the host Lady Tigers, Carl Junction and Neosho. The Lady Eagles open the season on Sept. 6-7 with their home tournament.