“It’s been an absolute honor to coach and mentor ALL of our Glory players who played for something bigger than themselves, who gave their teammates their very best (#IronSharpensIron), and who competed at the highest level. Thank YOU for helping us shape our Purpose Driven Softball movement. We hope you take great pride in what YOU helped build and that you will cherish it always.”
— Coach Mertz
TEAM ALUMNAE & PARENTS YEARBOOK
Mike, thank you for everything you do for the young ladies. What you do is not normal. It is special. And truly shows your absolute caring nature for doing everything in your power to help each one achieve their potential and dream. Wanted you to know that I recognize it and I am grateful. Fortunate to know you.
— Gregg Ritchie, former Pittsburgh Pirates Hitting Coach, Team USA Baseball Coach, GW Head Baseball Coach, Glory Parent 2014-2018
Joining Glory has been one of the best decisions of my life. The program not only made me a better softball player but a better person. Thank you for the unbelievable opportunities that you have given me. Thank you for introducing me to my best friends. I don’t know where I’d be or who I’d be without Glory. You took me in as a young girl who liked to play softball and turned me into a strong, capable woman with a passion for the sport of softball. I will never forget all the amazing experiences and I will be eternally grateful to have been a part of this Glory family.
— Kathryn Sandercock, ‘18, Florida State | USA Jr. Natl Team | PGF All-American | VA Gatorade POY
The 7 years I spent playing for Glory were some the best years of my life. I made life long friends and memories that I will have forever. This organization prepared me for college not only on the field but off. Academics was always a priority for this organization as it is in college. On the field the amount of reps and good instruction, both offensively and defensively, really prepared me well for the practices at Penn State. Having my number 23 retired at my signing senior year is something I will never forget. I am in debt to Coach Mertz, Coach Griffith and this organization for playing a part in turning me into the strong young woman I am today.
— Ally Kurland, ‘18, Penn State | PGF All-American
I am so thankful for all of the opportunities the Glory gave me. Not only did the organization make me a better player, but they made me understand the values of hard work and family. I wouldn’t be where I am now without the Glory. The friends that I’ve made within the program will stick with me no matter where we are. Coach Mertz, Coach Griffith and Coach Neuhart, thank you for accepting me into the program with open arms and encouraging me to be the best player I could be!
— Victoria Figueroa, ‘18, James Madison | Puerto Rico Jr. Natl Team | PGF All-American
My Glory experience really showed me what it’s like to have a team that is really bonded and cares about each other. Softball is about more than the sport. It’s about building relationships and friendships. Glory is the type of program that builds a family.
— Arizona Ritchie, ‘18, University of Virginia | PGF All-American
The two years I played for the Glory were a great experience. I made many relationships with people I will never forget. I was able to travel to places I have never been before. Every coach was extremely supportive and pushed you to do your best every practice and game. Choosing to play for the Glory was the best decision I made!
— Anna Deshaies, ‘18, Penn State | PGF All-American
Our family has both the honor and privilege of having the longest tenure with Coach Mike Mertz and his Virginia Glory teams. Putting words to feelings underestimates how much love, respect, and appreciation we have for the time, energy, and passion the Glory coaches put into each player. Coach Mertz, Coach Griffith and Coach Neuhart were more than softball coaches; they served as mentors, sounding-boards, and the biggest advocates a player could have in supporting Ally’s dream of attending and playing at Penn State. Having been on this softball journey since our daughter was 9 years old, there was no one we entrusted our daughter’s goals and ambitions to more than Glory. We are grateful and blessed to have been part of the Glory family!
— Liz and Kevin Kurland, Glory Parents 2012-2018
Playing for Glory was an amazing experience. You don’t find many travel teams with such passionate coaches. You would think that coaching is their second full-time job. They truly love all of their players and put so much into allowing them to live out their dreams. What makes Glory so special is that it breeds a culture of unity and family. Everyone says that the game teaches you so much about life. I have experienced this first-hand in numerous ways. However, I think playing for Glory taught me one of the most important lessons the game has to offer — it’s also about the relationships and memories you make along the way. Glory isn’t just a team; it’s a family. I have made some of my best friends and memories while playing for this organization. I was able to take this lesson with me to college and started appreciating every moment, from the exciting wins to the early morning run tests. All because I knew how special it is to be a part of a team. Glory taught me that softball is more than just a game.
— Tori Gilbert, ‘18, University of Virginia
The glory organization will forever hold a special place in my heart. Everyone from the coaching staff, to the families, and every player creating one unit and one heck of a team. Having a team that sets a standard and not letting anyone fall short of their potential, constantly pushing each other to be better. It’s amazing how much I got from this experience.
— Keira Womack, ‘18, East Carolina
I am so grateful God led me to the Glory organization because of the amazing people and family atmosphere. Everyone truly cares for one another. The competitive energy and drive for greatness, created by the team and coaches, made me better everyday. Thank you Coach Mertz, Coach G, and Coach Neuhart! Thank you, Glory!
— Brit Lew, ‘18, Liberty
I loved being a part of the Glory Organization! Everyone was always so positive and supportive and really focused on creating a good, positive culture for the players. My teammates are some of my favorite people in the world. There was never any drama with them and they welcomed newcomers to their teams with open arms. I love the coaches, Coach Mertz and Coach Griffith! They created such an amazingly supportive and positive environment for us and I loved playing for them! All the places we went to we were a family and we knew that we would always support each other in anything we did. Just like a family should.
— Kaitlin Beasley Polko, ‘17, Coastal Carolina | MD Gatorade POY
Coach Mertz, I was just thinking of Glory and how thankful I am to have played for you. And how much your practices have helped me adjust to college practices…especially your 4-hour practices! I miss you and the girls so much, hopefully I can visit a practice when I’m back home.
— Jazmyn Stokes, ‘17, Bucknell
Coach Mertz, playing for the Glory organization was such an amazing experience. We weren’t just a team, we were a family. Traveling all around the country wouldn’t have been the same without the culture we built. All of my teammates, coaches, and all of our families made each time we stepped onto the field special because we just embraced each and every moment. The relationships I’ve built through playing for this organization will always be there no matter how far apart we are. Always ‘All Guts, All Glory’.
— Amanda Nee, ‘17, University of Maine
Mike, we can’t thank you enough for all you have done for Emily since we met you last July! You took a chance on a unknown pitcher with no experience at the elite level and gave her an opportunity to chase a dream she has had since she was 10 years old (to play college softball). Since the day you told us she could guest pitch with your Glory team at PGF you have been a caring mentor and advocate who welcomed us into the Glory organization and showed us how to navigate the recruiting process. Your positive coaching style and interest in all your softball girls is amazing and we can’t be more thankful that our lives crossed paths. Emily is very excited about her commitment to UMaine and we will be forever grateful. This wouldn’t have happened without your help!!
— Carl Reid, ’18, Parent
Head Coach / Recruiting Advisor
Mike Mertz serves as a head coach, college recruiting advisor, and is heavily involved in player development. To date, 100% of Glory Mertz-Griffith grads committed to play softball in college and their 2017-’18 grad class team was the youngest all-commit team — top to bottom — in VA history. He attributes this accomplishment to his players and families who fully embrace the process of selflessly striving together to compete at the highest level — and his “Iron Sharpens Iron” team culture. In addition, team GPA is over 3.8 during that span which has allowed many players to earn academic scholarships as part of their packages. Excellence in class, and class on the field!
Since 2014, Coach Mertz’s teams have earned 3rd and 17th place finishes at PGF Nationals (CA) with .667 career winning percentage (13-7 in PGF Premier, 11-5 in PGF Platinum). Team highlights also include a Top 5 at 18U Louisville Slugger IDT (CO); Top 5 at 18U Atlanta Legacy (super pool); 9th Place at 18U USAES World Fastpitch Championships (FL); Champions at 16U Team NJ Summer Showcase; Champions at 18U USAES East Coast Championship; and Runner Up (of 44) at 16U USA Preps Best of the Best in Las Vegas.
In 2017, the 18U team went 47-6-1 on the national stage.
Coach Mertz has a great passion for teaching hitting, defense, base running, speed of play, instinctual play and the mental aspects of the game. In addition, he has held a position as a certified pitching instructor with Tincher Pitching.
What began as a kid in the dugout with top men’s softball teams coached by his grandfather has evolved into a true love of coaching. During his baseball playing career, he played every position on the field spending the most time as an infielder, pitcher and catcher.
Maddie Gordon ‘21 | Penn State
Isabella Smith ‘20 | James Madison
Tori Bowles ’20 | Mount St. Mary’s
Abby Weaver ’20 | Virginia
Jenna Pearson ’20 | Virginia Tech
Cassie Aud ’19 | Maryland
Amy Hills ’19 | Rollins
Hailey Brodhagen ’19 | Louisville (Track)
Katie Delph ’19 | Morgan State
Hannah Lalk ’19 | Morgan State
Kathryn Sandercock ’18 | Florida State
USA National Team; VA Gatorade Player of the Year (’17); MaxPreps Player of the Year (’17)
Victoria Figueroa ’18 | James Madison
Puerto Rico Junior National Team
Arizona Ritchie ’18 | Virginia
Ally Kurland ’18 | Penn State
Carlie Mertz ’18 | St. Joseph’s
Keira Womack ’18 | East Carolina
Cait Myers ’18 | Marshall
Anna Deshaies ’18 | Penn State
Tori Gilbert ’18 | Virginia
Brittany Lew ’18 | Liberty
Avery Neuhart ’18 | Mount St. Mary’s
Karlye Pallotta ’18 | Bowdoin
Nicole Kidwiler ’18 | Towson
Aly Rayle ’18 | Virginia (Guest/Recruiting Advisor)
Emily Reid ’18 | Maine (Guest/Recruiting Advisor)
Kaitlin Beasley-Polko ’17 | Coastal Carolina
MD Gatorade Player of the Year (’17); USA Today 3rd Team All American (’17); Washington Post All-Met Player of Year (’17)
Jazmyn Stokes ’17 | Bucknell
Raina Cooper ’17 | Alabama-Birmingham / Bowie State
Michelle Sullivan ’17 | James Madison
Amanda Nee ’17 | Maine
Abby Nyquist ’17 | Christopher Newport
Sienna Williams ’17 | Radford (10u-14u)
Julia Sinnett ’17 | Virginia Wesleyan (12u-14u)