With a rivalry that dates back decades, Kickapoo and Glendale seem to be treating Tuesday’s regular season baseball game like a championship.
Kickapoo coach Jason Howser and Glendale coach Mike Snodgrass were forced to sit next to each other for lunch the day before their teams are scheduled to meet at Kickapoo.
The opposing coaches dined together Monday at Coyote’s Café at a Springfield Lead-Off Club meeting.
When Kickapoo High School opened in 1971, former Glendale students made up most of its population, so it was only fitting that the Falcons and the Chiefs form a rivalry that has grown through generations.
With a little more than 24 hours before the first pitch, neither coach had much to share — not even who their starting pitchers would be.
“That’s to be determined. Any other questions?” Howser said, knowing who his starter would be but not wanting to share that information with Snodgrass sitting next to him.
Coach Snodgrass, equally protective of his gameday plans answered a News-Leader reporter in a non-committal fashion about his game day plans.
“It’s to be determined,” Snodgrass said, coyly imitating Howser.
Snodgrass then pretended to confuse his top performing pitchers. “I have Alex Austin and Austin Huff, I get them mixed up because they both have ‘Austin’ in there. They may or may not (pitch).”
Glendale could use senior right-hander Huff or left-hander Austin, who Wednesday will sign to play baseball at Drury.
Austin last pitched April 14 in a six-inning outing and a 7-3 win against Parkview.
“(Austin) kind of had a slow start like a lot of our guys that we’ve been counting on had a slow start, but he’s coming around,” Snodgrass said.
Kickapoo played one game last week and two the week before for just two games in three weeks. The Chiefs have six games scrunched into this week’s schedule, starting with Glendale. Kickapoo has a bevy of well-rested arms including Maplewoods Community College signee Jackson Jones and Kansas State signee Logan Wiley, who returned last week from rehabilitating an injury.
Wiley returned to the mound Friday in Bentonville in a game called off due to rain in the third inning. Wiley threw 38 pitches.
Howser says Wiley was crisp despite allowing three hits, and kept his fastball in the mid to high 80’s on the radar gun. He says Wiley was also calm and composed in his return from injury.
“I’ve got two seniors that just kind of get it, Danny Crews at shortstop is one and Logan Wiley is another. They just get it, they’re like talking to young adults any time you talk to them,” Howser said.
The pitching plans for both teams won’t fall into enemy hands, but someone from Kickapoo will throw a first pitch Tuesday at 4:30 p.m.
Snodgrass also praised sophomore outfielder Owen Gann, who leads the Falcons in hits and not-so-secretly went 3-for-3 with a walk in the Parkview game.
Host Kickapoo enters the south side rivalry game 9-3 and 1-1 in the Ozark Conference. Visiting Glendale comes in 8-9, but 3-0 in Ozark Conference play.
“I’m happy with where our team is. We’re in very good shape in the conference right now, so-so shape in the district — huge game (Tuesday) with Kickapoo, so we’ll see what we’re made of,” Snodgrass said.
The game could be considered big because it’s a conference and district game for the two teams, but earns “huge” status simply because it’s Glendale against Kickapoo. Glendale went 1-1 against Kickapoo in 2014 and finished 12-19 on the year, but a 3-2 upset April 22, 2014 that snapped the Chiefs’ 14-game winning streak served as the highlight of the season.
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High school baseball Glendale at KickapooTuesday, 4:30 p.m., Kickapoo High SchoolProbable starting pitchersKickapoo: to be determinedGlendale: to be determined