Defending state champion Marquette opens its 2018 season with two games in the 30th annual Parkway Invitational Classic.
The 30th annual tournament features 12 teams in four pools of three teams each. It will be played at the Kirkwood Athletic Association fields.
The tournament began in 1988 and has been held every year except for 2004 and 2014 when rain prevented it from being played.
Top-seeded Marquette faces No. 8 Parkway Central at 6 p.m. Monday (Aug. 27) on Field 1. At 7:45 p.m., the Mustangs will battle No. 9 Pattonville in its second Pool A game.
Coach Amy Doyle has five starters back from the 2017 title team that went 29-3 last fall in winning its first state championship when the Mustangs scored a 2-0 victory over Blue Springs South in the title game in Springfield.
The Mustangs also won the Parkway tournament last year. Marquette scored an 11-0 win over defending champion Francis Howell North.
Doyle noted the returning players have let their teammates know how exciting last season was but it’s not mentioned much now.
“Every year is different so we don’t talk about last year very often,” Doyle said.
This year’s team wants to make its own noise and leave it’s own imprint on the Marquette program.
“They are very determined to meet their goals,” Doyle said. “We have a great group and they are ready to hit the ground running.”
The squad is ready to play, Doyle said.
“They are so ready to start playing,” Doyle said. “You can only practice so much before it’s just time to start playing games.”
The other teams in the field along with their tournament seeds are:
* Pool B: No. 4 Parkway South, No. 5 Kirkwood, No. 12 Mehlville. Games are 4:15 p.m., 6 and 7:30 on Field 2.
* Pool C: No. 10 Parkway North, No. 2 Francis Howell North, No. 7 Ursuline. Games are 4:15 p.m., 6 and 7:30 on Field 3.
* Pool D: No. 6 Parkway West, No. 3 Fort Zumwalt West, No. 11 Ritenour. Games are 4:15 p.m., 6 and 7:30 on Field 4.
The tournament concludes Wednesday. The championship game is set for 6:30 p.m. on Field 3.Thursday is a makeup day in case of rain.
“It’s a great group of teams,” Doyle said. “We look forward to some great competition this season. The Parkway Tournament is a great way to start the season because it gives us the opportunity to play a lot of games in a short amount of time.”
Doyle’s expectations for the team in the tournament are to see how they respond to playing in live competition for the first time this season.
“If we go out and focus on the process, I think I we’ll find success,” Doyle said. “Central always puts a solid team on the field, so we will need to be ready to go.”
The Mustangs have two solid pitchers again this season.
Senior pitchers Annah Junge and Eileen McGinnis are both back for the Mustangs.
Junge went 19-2 last fall. She has committed to play in college at for the University of Detroit Mercy.
McGinnis, who was 10-1 inside the circle last season, has committed to play St. Louis Community College-Meramec.
Having two solid pitchers is a good problem to have, Doyle said.
“We are spoiled to have both of our returning pitchers back,” Doyle said. “It’s so great to have two strong pitchers who have a great work ethic.”