With the regular season’s end rapidly approaching, Maryville baseball is at a standstill with a record teetering just above .500 at 7-6.
After having found some much-needed offense at the mid-way point of the season, the Spoofhounds appear to have lost their momentum at the plate at an inopportune time.
Coach Carson Riedel is ready to steer the ship straight and get the recent play corrected.
“We are just making a lot of simple mistakes with our mechanics,” Riedel said. “Looking at some of the issues that we are having, it relates to stuff these guys learned as kids. It is mainly just a combination of all the little things at the plate and on the diamond.”
Even with the team's recent skid at the plate, Riedel still believes his team can compete with anybody in the Midland Empire Conference. The main issue that has plagued the Spoofhounds has been consistency. Whether that is consistency at the plate, in the field or on the mound, the ‘Hounds have yet to put together a consistent seven innings in all phases.
Consistency is something that Riedel wishes to see more of out of his squad. Being a local business owner in Maryville, Riedel understands that consistency is very important and leads to success. He opened Carson’s Sports Grill in 2006 and has provided locals and college students with a consistent and friendly restaurant.
“It is funny because how it all came about,” Riedel said. “We noticed the lack of a grill in town when we would drive up to Iowa to see the in-laws. Then we got to talking about it and everything just kind of fell into place.”
Riedel, his wife and in-laws were all a part of bringing Carson’s to Maryville. To make it easier, he was approaching 15 years in the restaurant business. Riedel never expected the restaurant to get where it is today, just like he never expected to find himself the coach of a baseball team.
Owning a local bar and grill and coaching a high school baseball team sounds like quite a load, but Riedel appears to relish the situation. It helped that he had his wife and in-laws to help with the restaurant when he decided to take the reigns of the program.
The pride that Riedel and his family have taken in the restaurant is second to none. Riedel has experience building culture through the restaurant and now is looking to change the culture of the Spoofhound baseball program.
With the ‘Hounds aspirations just out of reach, Riedel has to find a way to shift the team's performance to put them in a situation to compete for a conference title. Having experience building his own business would later benefit him as he learned to coach. He admits that he had a little learning curve when it came to coaching.
“First thing about coaching was probably just the nerves,” Riedel said. “Just knowing that I had some big shoes to fill caused some tension. Luckily enough, some of my experience owning a business in town helped in the transition.”
Getting to be the coach of the Spoofhounds was a big honor to Riedel, as he did not expect it. Expectations can be very difficult in a town where many state titles and national championships reside, but Riedel seems to get even more fired up at the mention of the town’s recent athletic accomplishments as he wants to be the next to add to the great tradition of “Title Town.”
That does not mean a state championship is a goal at this point in time, though Riedel and the rest of the Spoofhounds have that goal in the back of their heads. He realizes that it will take time to shift the culture of the program with it being only his second year at the helm.
"When we started off slow. Coach was always in our ear, letting us know things will change,” senior Tyler Houchin said. “He is really positive and finds ways to show us what we need to change or fix.”
Riedel has a lot of goals set out for his team on the field and off. The coach emphasized the importance of school and the opportunities it can present. He wants his players to know there is more than just a game to worry about.
Riedel used to just drive through Maryville on his way to visit family, but now he gets to do much more with the city. He and the Spoofhounds will have their work cut out for them as they must fight their way out of a hole.
Even with the slow start and many weather cancellations, the ‘Hounds are still in a spot to have a shot at the conference title. Maryville will see its next action in a Chillicothe tournament April 25-27.