There were no bombs, dingers, oppo tacos, slams or long balls last season. In fact, there weren’t even peanuts or crackerjacks for that matter. Baseball felt the wrath of the pandemic in the spring of 2020, and the Jefferson R-7 Blue Jays Boys Varsity squad was among the pastime-less casualties. Thankfully, it’s a new year and the world is slowly getting back to enough of a degree of normalcy that the Blue Jays are ready to reenter the diamond.
Spring of 2021 is a time for new life and new hope for a talented group of young men that are ready to dirty their jerseys, wear down their cleats and damage some baseballs. The R-7 Blue Jays are ready to roll in a fresh, and hopefully full, season in 2021… and we’re excited about the potential they will be bringing to the playing field.
We caught up with Head Coach Robert Kuehnle and peppered him with some questions about his team and the expectations this season. For starters, we asked him to shed some light, and some praise, on who he feels his top contributors will be. He responded with, “Colby Ott is going to be a fun player to watch this year. He has all the tools and is going to be an absolute force on the diamond. Daylen Whitener and Dylan Schnitzler are going to be a presence on the mound and in the batter’s box, Nolan Roth is going to play a lot of outfield and Dawson Jakoubek is going to be a big bat for us.”
When asked about what the expectations will be for his Blue Jays this year, Coach Kuehnle was blunt. “We expect to be competitive in every game we are in.” We appreciate his candor, and can see behind the words that these Jefferson young men have the drive and the will to give it 100 percent every game this year.
Kuehnle followed up by saying that the Jays will take a hard-nosed, hard work approach to the season and if there is anything to work on it’s that the club will need to “refine the little things to become the team we want to be.” Certainly a common and ongoing mantra for any team, but it shows grit and determination in spades.
We asked him about Jefferson’s difficult schedule this year, and he mentioned multiple games and teams that fans should keep a close eye on. The Head Coach quipped, “Columbia Hickman will be a definite challenge. Hillsboro and Valley Catholic are two games we are looking forward to as well.”
Finally, we checked in about any sneaky-good players that might be flying under the radar that we should zoom in on. He confidently stated, “Jack Hueter and Ethan Boyer will be definite utility guys for us this year, while Luke Labruyere will be a presence on the mound. Colton Richardson will also be a good addition to our lineup.” We’ll keep an eye out, Coach.
All in all, the Blue Jays appear to be a poised and confident team loaded with versatility. They seem to have strength on the mound and in the batter’s box, which makes for a difficult challenge to any opponent they are facing. We wish the Jays all the luck in the world this season, but it doesn’t seem as if they’ll need it.