As coach Carson Riedel enters his second season at the helm for Maryville baseball, the future of the program is most important.
With six returning starters, the ‘Hounds are prepared to wipe the slate clean and aim for a shot at the Midland Empire Conference championship. Maryville will look to its seniors to lead the way and set the tone for the rest of the season.
Riedel is leading the Spoofhounds after spending one year as an assistant coach in 2017. The job was vacated when former coach Monica Woods retired, and the school district saw Riedel as the best fit for the position.
“Coming into the position was great, but it was tough losing the experience from coach Woods,” Riedel said. “I was glad to have had a year as an assistant because it made the transition from coach Woods to myself much easier.”
Riedel said there was some initial worry on his part, after only a year of coaching experience before being named head coach. He quickly got over those initial nerves as he realized the position he was in.
“Honestly, I did not know what to think initially about being named head coach,” Riedel said. “It was a little overwhelming at first, but I was able to overcome those nerves because I understood that I was inheriting a solid team with a lot of potential from coach Woods.”
Riedel was given the reins to a team that had just won the Class 4 District 16 title before a loss in the playoffs to Smithville. In his first year, Riedel led the Spoofhounds to a less than stellar record of 8-10. He also noted that there was a mass exodus of seniors the year before his first season as the lead man for the ‘Hounds.
Coming into his first season at the helm, Riedel did not have high expectations considering the amount of experience lost at the varsity level. Two years later, and Riedel emphasized that now is the time for the program to capitalize with such an experienced group mixed in with some underclassmen.
“Now some of those guys that lacked experience when I came in have gotten the opportunity to learn and gain more experience,” Riedel said. “Right now, I would say the bar of expectations has been raised for the upcoming season. We have plenty of older guys that the underclassmen can lean on for advice.”
The Spoofhounds are set to return with six starters this season and a couple more players who had started a few games last season. With such a packed senior class, Maryville has the looks of a hardened and seasoned squad out on the diamond.
The ‘Hounds are in a position to change the culture around the team and shed the label of lacking experience. Riedel has confidence in his team because he has seen the effort and time they put in to change the perception of the team.
“These guys have really worked their tails off the last couple of years,” Riedel said. “I think that we are finally going to see that work pay off this year and hopefully go and get a conference title while we are at it.”