MAC ON SPORTS: STREEVAL REACHES 400, 401

J. Thomas McNamara

        With his recent 400th and 401st wins, Greg Streeval moved into the top 50 in career wins among Illinois High School Association’s softball coaches.
       He isn’t the only Macon County coach in the rarefied career win air as Mount Zion’s Greg Blakey is in the top six with 704 wins in 30 years as of Monday, May 31.
       Streeval has been Meridian’s head coach since 1999, serving as an assistant for two years before that.
        “So for a total of 23 years I’ve been head coach, but actually only 22 since there was not a season last year because of COVID,” reminded Streeval about his background there.
         “I have been very fortunate to have coached at Meridian for all of them.  I also coach travel ball and have been active in that for the last 30 plus years.
         Streeval spoke about how “we built the program, we start them out young and switch any of them with speed to lefty (left-handed hitters).
       “Our high school team has 7 lefty’s in the batting order most games.  We use our Middle School program to get them up to speed so when they arrive at high school they know what is expected and I am a strong advocate of travel softball.
        “That is where the best competition is and where a player either has to improve or fall by the wayside.  Almost all of them improve and flourish.  I have also been very lucky to have had GREAT assistant coaches.  Several of them are my former players most of them ex-college players.
           He was surprised to learn he was now in the top 50 among softball coaches career wins.
           Meridian’s 20-1 Central Illinois Conference victory a week ago Saturday, gave Streeval his 400th career win.
            With his two victories, the Hawks coach’s career won-loss record is 401-224.
             Asked for his thoughts on how prep softball has evolved, Streeval opined, “I think that some of the major differences are that most teams today have decent pitching.
            “Back 20 years ago you had some dominate studs from 40 feet pitching distance , but a lot of the teams had very weak pitching that struggled to throw strikes.
             “Also when they moved the pitching distance back to 43′ our team batting average raised over 50 points.  And lastly the evolution of bats.  Today’s bats are extremely hot and can turn some otherwise average hitters into HR hitters!,” concluded Streeval.

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