The Leavenworth Blue Jays’ U-16 baseball team has a big summer planned and it got off to a red-hot start last weekend in Lawrence.

Under the direction of Leavenworth High School coach Joe Allison, the Blue Jays finished the weekend with a 3-1 record at a tournament held at KU.

The Blue Jays defeated Complete Game 8-4, Urquhart 6-2 and Lawrence 14-0 before falling to Free State 7-6.

“We had a great weekend at KU,” Allison said. “We hit the ball well, ran the bases well, and for the most part, pitched it pretty well. We had some trouble with some walks here and there, followed up by some ill-timed defensive mistakes that resulted in runs for the other teams. All in all, it was a good weekend though and I was pleased with our efforts.”

The Blue Jays will be traveling to a number of tournaments held on college campuses such as those at Arkansas and Wichita State along with one at the University of Saint Mary.

This weekend they will take part in a tournament event at 3&2 West Complex Fields in Shawnee.

“Our goal for this team is to showcase each player's talent and potential,” Allison said. “Each of our 11 players have aspirations of playing baseball at the college level. It is my job to coach each player up on not only the game of baseball, but what it is that college coaches are looking for in young high school players.”

It will also all happen against a field of teams that offer plenty of competition and that will offer the Blue Jays players a chance to measure up against them. Essentially, they will try to figure out what differentiates them from all the other players across the country.

“Almost all the teams we see in the summer are loaded with talented players that play the game exceptionally well,” Allison said. “We stress the important factors that coaches look for that separate each of these players. For example, how does a player handle adversity? How does a player carry himself on the field? Does the player have a high baseball IQ? Does the player work hard first pitch to last pitch? Does the player pick up his teammates? Does the player have bad non-verbals? 

“These are just a few of the things we stress on a consistent basis.”

So far, it’s been quite the time for Allison.

“We have a great group of young men that represent our program well,” Allison said. “I enjoy every minute of working with this team and I look forward to watching the progress into outstanding high school players and hopefully college players.”