By Jeff Strange

Upon reflecting on this past season and some defining moments, Top Gun ‘27/’28 STL 14u head coach Brian Grenia offered up some insight on his thoughts on what has led him, his coaching staff and group of athletes largely constructed from the greater metropolitan St. Louis area to where they are now…

“There’s so many things that this team does, both collectively and as individuals, that make me proud,” said Grenia. “I can’t pinpoint one thing that I’d say “defined” our season or that really defines this team. I’ll just say this: In September of 2021, we had eight players on the roster. Eight! Tournaments had begun, we only had eight, and several people were hoping we would fold so they could scoop up some of the top players. Just two years and 146 wins later, we’ve developed this group of girls into a legitimate team. We just flat outworked a lot of people.”

Moving to a new organization this past fall and now donning the navy blue and orange of the Top Gun organization, Grenia also took some time to reflect on some of the positive moments of the past season, while still with the Missouri Bombers.

“We won the first tournament of the spring and our final tournament of the summer,” said Grenia. “That was our last time wearing a Bombers uniform. That was an incredible way to end our tenure as the Missouri Bombers ’09.”

Now looking ahead to 2024, we caught up with Grenia on his thoughts for the upcoming season:

Can you give some background information on your coaching staff and coaching styles?

“Matt Frownfelter and I are going on our 4th season together stretching back to our first year as MO Bombers. Dave Smith is in his 2nd season as an official coach on the team.

As far as responsibilities go for the team – I’m responsible for the defense; Matt has pitchers, catchers and base running; Dave owns hitting and our mental development. As a side note: this Fall, Dave earned his Mental Performance Mastery certificate to become a certified mental performance coach. He believes so strongly in helping our girls and others in their mental health that he committed 100’s of hours studying this aspect of the game. Few people know that about him.”

Does your team face any challenges with schedules? If yes, how do you manage that?

“Most of our players will play a second sport in HS. That makes that Friday night game in the Spring a little challenging. Fortunately, the heart of our tournament season doesn’t begin until after Memorial Day when HS sports won’t be a factor. We practice late on Tuesdays and Sundays in order to minimize any conflicts.”

What are your primary goals and objectives for your team?

1) To build the girls’ self-esteem

2) To teach them how to work hard.

In your opinion, what traits make your team unique?

“We are still a homegrown team. January-March, we practice together twice a week as a team. In-season, we practice together weekly as a team even during heavy tournament play. Our roster is entirely 2009 girls from the St. Louis (and surrounding) area.”

Can you give some analysis/perspective on your team for 2024?

“I’m excited about the team heading into 2024. We returned 10 players and picked up a much-needed second catcher. That’s really where we focused at the end of the summer. We carry five pitchers and two catchers, which is a luxury for us compared to our rosters over the past few seasons. Offensively, we are strong up and down the lineup possessing both speed and power. Our defense has always been one of our strengths. I’m looking forward to watching the girls work on defense this year.”

What are your short-term goals for your team?

“We will work hard with indoor training five hours a week from January through March. We will run up to Iowa once or twice this winter to play an indoor just to break up the grind.

Spring ball is challenging for us this year because all of the surrounding states will be in high school ball. We will probably play up in some local events. In addition, we plan on setting up situational scrimmages with teams in March and April, just so we can see live pitching and work on our defense.

This summer, we will alternate between local tournaments and travel events playing in some of the bigger name events.”

What are your long-term goals for your team?

“We are spending more resources on college recruiting. We played 230 games over the last two seasons in an effort to maximize game reps. That was by design. It is extremely difficult to simulate live reps, under pressure, in practice or even practice games. We made a decision to play a lot tournaments. Going forward we will be more selective on what we play, focusing more on showcase events and camps.”

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