U.S. Baseball League LLC General Manager Mark Stratton sees himself as a man of his word. The Missouri State University alumnus says he is dedicated to his community and to his goals.
His reputation began with Glendale High School, where in 1993 he became head baseball coach.
“I think people in the community see me as a person that does what he says he will do, can get things done, all the while being an advocate for kids. The Glendale community is all about achievement, on and off the field. I owe that community a huge debt of gratitude,” Stratton says.
He says he had the same mentality while working at Drury University as associate athletic director for development.
“It is all about commitment to achievement,” he says. “We set up the program by our three rules to be a Drury Baseball Panther.”
He says that the rules are as follows: Be a good person, be a good student and be a good player – in that order.
“More importantly, it solidified the premonition that we could take local kids and compete on a national scale, he says, adding Edsel Mathews, a former director of athletics at Drury, was instrumental in mentoring him as he transitioned from high school to collegiate coaching.
He says that his success at Drury was what led him down the path to his current position.
“[It] provided additional exposure for me in the Springfield community and brought me to my current position. (U.S. Baseball Park) is headed toward being the hub of amateur baseball in the four-state area,” Stratton says.
“Our current construction of the (U.S. Baseball Park) indoor training facility adjacent to the [left] corner of the field, will allow our kids to chase their dreams, year-round, be it baseball or softball.”
In January, U.S. Baseball Park was chosen by the Missouri State High School Activities Association to host the state baseball championships 2021-2025. And in April, the league began construction on a 23,000-square-foot indoor training facility. This expansion will house a full-size high school infield for practice.
One of Stratton’s proudest accomplishments was partnering with Drury Panthers coach Scott Nasby and MSU Bears coach Keith Guttin to raise funds and awareness for ALS for former MSU Bear and Glendale coach Howard Bell, who suffered from ALS. Together, they created the Drury vs. MSU game Battle for Bell.
While head baseball coach at Glendale High School, Stratton helped the school develop a playing field for the team, which had previously been playing games at public parks.
“I had the good fortune of helping develop the playing field at Glendale, which is named after Don Provance [a former Glendale basketball coach] into one of the premier high school playing facilities in the state of Missouri,” he says.
He also helped revive the dormant baseball program at Drury. The Drury baseball program is now recognized as one of the most elite programs in the country at the NCAA Division-II level.
Whataburger launched its second local store; Branson shop Revive Juice and Coffee Bar LLC moved; and a new Monett branch of the Barry-Lawrence Regional Library District opened.