How new head coach Steve Glenn plans to revitalize Nevada baseball program
NEVADA — Steve Glenn is ready to start a new chapter for the Nevada baseball program.
Glenn stepped into the vacant head coaching position a year after the Cubs struggled through a 3-24 campaign. The program has only gone 16-49 since finishing 17-10 in 2018, so the new head coach knows he has a big challenge trying to turn things around.
But with the success the Cubs have had in other programs, he knows he has the athletes to compete right away.
"Nevada is good at about everything they do," Glenn said. "They had a great football team, their cross country team was conference champs, their basketball team was good and track and soccer have some success, so why can't baseball have some success?"
Glenn has 25 years of coaching experience. He's been the varsity head coach at West Central Valley, Van Meter and Colfax-Mingo, and he also served as an assistant at Grinnell, BGM and Ankeny.
"It's the same athletes," Glenn said. "We're really athletic. We just have to make sure we're throwing strikes and putting the ball in play."
Glenn said being more consistent will go a long way in helping Nevada becoming more competitive this summer.
"We want to avoid the big inning," Glenn said. "Last year, it was one big inning that killed them most of the time. We want to stay away from that big inning if we can."
Nevada will be led by senior outfielder Gavin Melohn. He was the team's lone all-Heart of Iowa Conference player last year. He hit .356 with 14 runs and 11 RBIs.
"I think I've improved my hitting the most since last year," Melohn said. "My outfield fundamentals are fairly sound. Hitting wasn't awful for me last year, but it wasn't great. That's where I put most of the work in during the offseason. I think it's going to be a good year."
Melohn was a nightmare for opposing teams on the bases last year with 22 steals. He plans on taking that to another level this year.
"This year, our plan is to steal as many bases as possible," Melohn said. "I like that because last year I got the red light quite a bit. This year it's all green lights. I'm going for at least 100 stolen bases."
Melohn said he likes the direction the program is going under Glenn.
"I feel like we're going to have a really promising season," Melohn said. "Our baseball program grew by about 20 kids. I want to get my outfielders developed early on so they can be all-conference players as well."
Joining Melohn in the outfield this year will be Christian Hawbaker in right field and Caleb Kooiker, Kyle Kingsbury and Elijah Nelson in the mix.
Hawbaker hit .268 and scored 12 runs a year ago. Kooiker had a .321 on-base percentage and scored nine runs, and Kingsbury hit .250 with four runs.
The Cub infield will have senior Connor Schnettgoecke and junior Colton Leslie at first base, senior Colin Memmer at second base, junior Karter Beving at shortstop, and Will Carsrud and Nelson at third base. Senior Cael Franzen will also play at either shortstop or second base.
Last year, Schnettgoecke hit .250 with seven RBIs, Memmer .241 with nine runs, Beving .284 with 10 RBIs and Franzen .255 with six RBIs.
On the mound, Nevada will have Franzen, Beving and Memmer coming back with quality experience.
Franzen was 1-3 with a 6.70 ERA in 23 innings last year. Beving had 28 strikeouts in 31 innings of work and Memmer was 1-3 in 29 1/3 innings.
Other players expected to contribute throwing the ball will be Carsrud, Drew Hillman and Nelson, who can throw both lefty and righty, along with freshman Jackson Burlage and possibly sophomore Nick Larson.
"We turned everybody into a pitcher this year," Glenn said. "If you showed up, you're a pitcher. I think we're looking for guys that are going to help us out pitching-wise."
Behind the plate, Nevada will have freshman Anthony Eaton and sophomore Calvin Franzen. Melohn said he could also help out at catcher and injured senior Ty Dittmer could also figure into the mix once he's healthy.
It will take some time for Glenn to get things put together. Nevada dropped its opener Monday against Bondurant-Farrar, 9-4.
But the Cubs plan on taking it one game at a time and gradually progressing.
"The record wasn't the best last season and we want to improve and put a good product on the field that people want to come and watch," Glenn said. "Being one of the bigger schools in the district and having the success they've had in other sports, I think we should be able to compete in the conference."