90th BJ Season is Underway

Close Play - Shane Boyer, UMB, beats the tag by Todd Hinkley, BJ Raiders, June 3 at Mid-America Sports Complex.
Close Play – Shane Boyer, UMB, beats the tag by Todd Hinkley, BJ Raiders, June 3 at Mid-America Sports Complex.

Here is a look at the 2016 season based on information supplied by the teams.
The teams are listed in alphabetical order.

BJ Raiders

Second-year manager Jake Bradshaw returns a number of players from his first Raider team.
The returning players for the Raiders include Craig Straws, just graduated from Liberty HS; Micah Dillman from Central Methodist, Ty Bradshaw, from KCKCC, Tanner Foerschler, Zach Hutcherson, Ryan Hinkey and Dylan Pollock all from William Jewell and returning from Maple Woods are Zach Hoeflicker, Tyler Funk and Tyler Burrow plus Nico Codemo from Central Missouri.
The team has 11 newcomers to the team.

KC Sports Club Blaze

This is the second year for the Blaze in the league.
The manager is former Major League Baseball pitcher Jaime Bluma.

MSBL Royals

Tony Hurla is back for his sixth season managing the Royals.
The key returnee for the Royals is outfielder Chase Redick from KCKCC. He was an All-Star in 2015.
Some newcomers that could make an impact are infielder/RHP Cole Boardman from Ottawa and outfielder Jake Gesling from Baker.
“How we execute on the mound will determine our success this summer,” Hurla said. “A lot of new faces will be trying to prove what they can do for us.”

MidAmeriCare Nationals

Manager John Gage returns a number of players from his 2015 club.
The returnees include catcher/first baseman Jared Gage, infielder Rohman Viar, pitcher Luke Eckley, pitcher Sean Goosetree, pitcher John Rector, catcher/first baseman AC Long, outfielder Shaq Theus, pitcher Tyler Lohuis.
And the Nationals have added a number of players, including pitcher Noah Briley, second baseman Chris Morrison, infielder/outfielder Jordan Rice, utility player Collin Rice, outfielders Jordan McCloud and Aaron Meeks, shortstop/pitcher Robbie Suhr and outfielder/pitcher Drew Blair.

Milgram Mustangs

This is seventh season managing for Kevin Shaw and his 28th year involved in coaching or managing in the league.
The key returnees for the Mustangs are first baseman Dylan Christie and pitcher Dakota Graham.
The other returnees are pitcher JW McGraw, shortstop Zac Shaw, utility player AJ Salinas, catcher JJ Wesley, outfielder Cameron Dean and pitcher Ryan Cantrell.
The impact newcomers are designated hitter Drew Standifer, outfielder/infielder Derek Hussey, third baseman Landon Figg and pitcher Andrew Gillett.
“The keys to the season is whether there will be enough pitching,” Shaw said.

North Kansas City Apartments Giants

Manager Dan Stacks returns a number of players from his 2015 squad, including Sam Frazen, Cody Gregory, Cooper Curran, Jeremy Lufft, Michael Valdiva, Chase Leavy, Corbin Hare, PJ SeufertAlex Pener and Dillon Richardson.
Newcomers to the Giants are Wesley Denzier, Grant Burns, Kye Denker, Austin Alejos, Dalton Weaver, Jack Duke, Jonathan Fink, Tyler Brough, Henry de Noble, Andrew Ellwanger, Justin Saint, Kyle Singer and Aurelio Bacling.
“We will be an extremely balanced team this year with players from incoming freshmen to upperclassmen as well,” Stacks said. “We intend to play the game hard and compete in every game.”
Stacks noted that his two assistant coaches Brad Law and Matt Stacks are both NKC alums.

Natural Baseball Academy

Third-year manager Brian Knippelmeyer captured the league championship in 2015.
He returns a number of players from his championship team, including Trevor Burkdoll, Alex Kincaid, Luke Knight, Brandon Martinkus, Cole Newell, Jack Pauley, Chase Robinson, Rayn Robinson and Josh Scribner.
The newcomers for the 2016 season include Trent Anderson, Keller Agre, Easton Barnes, Chance Carney, Jason Fast, Jonathan Felix, Kyle Francis, Austin Gooch, Shane Gottsch, Jonny Hodges, Avery Jennings, Derek Johnson, Daulton Kincaid, Trevor McClanahan, Jesse Perez, Brock Randels, Matt Slauter, Garrett Smith and Justin Ward.
“The challenge every year with collegiate summer baseball is players getting comfortable with the coaching staff,” he said. “The key to success for our team this season will depend upon if we can win all three phases of the game (pitching, hitting and defense).
“I am very excited about the team we have put together this season and I believe we can make another run at a league championship.”

Regal Plastics

Regal has a new manager in Tom Dailey, but it’s not his first year in the league. He has been a coach with UMB Bank and managed the NKC Apartments Giants.
“While we have several returning players, the majority will be in their first year with Regal,” he said. “We will have good team speed with a nice blend of power.
As with most clubs our success will rest on how well our pitchers perform. We have proven starters mixed with good arms intent on establishing themselves. I like their attitude and it will be a fun year.”

Seaboard

Will Meier is in his fifth year leading Seaboard.
He returns outfielder Austin Hoegerl, pitcher Wally Nellor, infielder Mitchell Rogers, infielder Drew Green, infielder/pitcher Adam Theis, infielder/pitcher Matt McHugh, pitcher Spencer Redmond, catcher Michael Hayworth, catcher David White and outfielder Zach Hanna.
The newcomers to the team are pitcher Brennan Lewis, middle infielder Nick McMurray, first baseman Brett Ferencz, pitcher Coby Seiz, pitcher Jared Robbins, pitcher Chaz Burgess, third baseman/outfielder Ty Herrenbruck, pitcher David Schwab, pitcher Luke Rachwal and catcher Ryan Cedeno.
“The key will be good pitching and defense with timely hitting,” Meier said. “We have good depth so just need to make sure we stay consistent in our effort and execution.”

UMB Bank

Manager Cary Lundy is back for another stint running the UMB team. This is his second year after retiring for seven years. He started managing in the middle 80s.
UMB returns shortstop Shane Boyer and third baseman Daniel LaMunyon.
New to the team are Shayne Kirkwood, John Lozano and Zach Pirello.
“Last year we proved we were the best team with like a 20-game winning streak,” Lundy said. “We had dominant starting pitching.
“This year, we have a better hitting team with more speed. If we throw strikes we should be able to compete.”

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