Fairbury Jeffs take young team into 2023 baseball season
FAIRBURY, NE — The Jeffs are back onto the baseball diamond.
Head Coach Jesse Bauer leads Fairbury into a new season. They’re one of 23 teams who will compete in Class C, which was added to high school baseball by the NSAA beginning this season.
"That's the best thing I think they could've done," Bauer said. "It made it even for everybody and gave us some hope to get past, or you know, get some runs in the postseason. I think it's a good thing for the kids and for baseball in general."
High school baseball in Nebraska only had two classes, A and B, since 1961 prior to this season. There was previously a Class C in the early 1940s and then again in the 1950s.
The two class system meant Fairbury was facing much larger schools at district tournaments.
As far as the roster goes, it’ll be a young group this year. Eight of the 16 players on the roster this season are freshman.
"I think a lot of them will be in the mix," Bauer said. "Obviously, we need them all for depth. They're all eager to learn and that's the great part about it. That's what I like. They do what you tell them to and they don't complain."
Coach Bauer says that means more will be expected of their two seniors, Brendon Runge and Auggie Judd and not just on the field.
"They're both two fine young men," Bauer said. "I've told them once already, where we go is where they take us."
The pair believe they’re up for the task.
"To be honest, it's probably a big learning curve for most of them," Runge said of the young players. "We're going to do our part to set them up for success for the years coming and see what they can do with it."
And with the NSAA adding a third class for baseball adding more opportunities, they hope to accomplish a lot in their final year.
"I would say a good run at districts and hopefully get to state," Judd said.
For now though, preseason practices are helping getting the young team into the swing of things.
"Kind of like our coaches tell us, we've just got to do the little things right," Runge said. "Be able to hit, field and throw so pretty basic things of baseball. If we can hammer those down and get pretty solid with those, I think we'll be pretty good."
"I think we need to improve on our pitching a lot," Judd said. "We need to get more pitchers out on the field. We don't have very many right now."
Teams across Nebraska can start playing games Thursday, but mother nature is most likely altering that schedule.