The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

Sports

January 16, 2014

Joplin's Greninger selects Labette for softball

— Ryan Phillips, softball coach at Labette Community College, expects Joplin High School standout Jessica Greninger to quickly pay dividends.

Greninger, who started every varsity game during her four-year career with the Eagles, signed with the Parsons (Kan.)-based Cardinals on Thursday at the junior and senior campus.

Phillips and LCC assistants Kae Lani Bryan and Kala White came to Joplin for the ceremony.

Said Phillips: “We expect Jessica to be a huge contributor. We needed some kids to drive in runs. That’s an aspect of her game. She was a tough out in the games I saw.

“Jessica also has good range in the outfield,” Phillips said. “She also may play some first base.”

The right-handed Greninger, who played left field as a senior and was selected the Ozark Conference player of the year, was versatile for the Eagles, coach Kirk Harryman said. She was a pitcher/first baseman as a freshman and pitcher/center fielder as a sophomore. She also toiled in the circle as a junior before concentrating on the outfield this past fall.

Greninger earned all-district honors four years in Class 4. She was all-Ozark three times.

She averaged .424 on 39 of 92 as a senior as the Eagles finished 21-8 overall and 9-0 in the conference. The Eagles knocked off No. 1 seed McDonald County in districts before losing to Webb City in the finals.

Greninger, who scored 23 runs and had 28 RBI, added 4 doubles, 2 triples and 3 home runs.

“Jessica, who mainly hit third in the order, had a great offensive season,” Harryman said. “She needs to become stronger and continue working on her mental approach at the plate. Defensively, she needs to keep working.

“She’s improved so much in four years,” Harryman said. “I’m excited to see what she can do for coach Phillips.”

Jessica, the daughter of Sherry and Mike Greninger, said she’s unsure of a major. She plans to play a fourth summer with the Worth Prospects.

“I’m comfortable with the coaching staff, it’s a good program, it’s close to home and, hopefully, I’ll earn playing time right away,” Greninger said of choosing Labette.

Phillips, who was a pitcher for LCC and Shorter (Ga.), is a 1999 graduate of Neosho High School.  He was head coach of the National Pro Fastpitch Akron (Ohio) Racers last summer.

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