Caleb Riordan | Ameritime Sports Writer
As our calendars approach September, the Jefferson R-7 Blue Jays are back in action in the classroom and also on the softball field.
Head Coach Robert Kuehnle’s team is looking to improve off of the 8-14 season they put together in 2020. While their record was nothing to write home about, there are plenty of positive factors to build off of coming into this new season.
R-7 returns a few key players in Cami Menke and Morgan Figliolo. Menke finished last season tied for first on the team with 30 RBIs. She also racked up five home runs and put together a .468 batting average. Menke’s pitching presence cannot be forgotten either. She pitched 40 innings last year and struck out 19 batters.
Figliolo is coming off of a year where she smashed six doubles, scored 15 runs and had a .255 batting average. She also pitched 25 innings and struck out 32 batters. Kuehnle is excited about the development of not only these two players but all of the athletes that will put on a Blue Jay uniform this year.
“I think all the girls will be important this year,” he said. “We have some great returning players but also some players that have come into the program who are going to make a splash. Really the whole team is going to contribute this year.”
The athletes are just as confident as their leader.
“I expect great things from the team this year,” Menke said. “We have a lot of talent from girls that have been in the program for the past couple years and also from the girls coming into their first year.”
The expectations for this team are simple. Take the season one game at a time and hope you are in a position to compete at the end of the year.
“To be honest we hope to compete in every contest and have a chance to win every game,” Kuehnle said. “And to compete to win the last three games of the season.”
This team’s strength is definitely going to be their offense. Kuehnle believes his team will perform well in the box and they are heavily focused on improving on their defensive prowess.
“I think we will hit well,” he said. “Our defense is something to look at. I believe that needs to improve over the course of the year but all around we should be pretty savvy.”
A new season brings new challenges. The Blue Jays are ready to tackle those challenges, and they are determined to be ready to go when the season begins.
“There are a lot of spots in the lineup that have a lot of competition right now,” Kuehnle said. “The girls are really taking these competitions seriously and I think that this competition will only make us better.”
R-7 is anxious to see its Blue Jays back in action on the diamond and that time is quickly approaching. Be on the lookout for this motivated club to make great strides in their progression as a ball club as the season marches on.