By Adam Kolb / Co-Sports Editor
A redshirt season can be frustrating for any athlete, but there can be a positive side to it.
This was the case for Hutchinson Community College baseball player Jenner Steele, who played high school baseball for former HutchCC coach John Burgi at Hollister, Missouri.
“My freshman year, when I got redshirted, I was honestly a bit upset at first, just because I was so excited to play,” Steele said. “After talking to my coach, I realized that was the best thing for me, and it actually turned out to be a big blessing, because I got to practice with so many talented guys who made me better.”
However, Steele still felt the frustrations of not being able to play.
“It was definitely a hard year, just because my love for the game is so big,” Steele said. “But it gave me lots of time to improve my skills.”
Blue Dragon coach Ryan Schmidt said there weren’t many expectations for Steele this year, but you could see the potential.
“We knew he had the ability,” Schmidt said. “He just needed more time to develop.”
That extra time to develop has seemed to work in Steele’s favor this year, as he has made it to the starting lineup, hit five home runs and batted .400 before the season ended in March due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Those stats are thanks to hard work in the offseason and during his redshirt year, as Steele knew that this season he would have to work hard and prove himself.
“I made sure my work ethic was the best it could be everyday and put in hard work day in and day out,” Steele said. “I always try and make sure I’m a coachable kid and always listen to the advice my coaches have for me.”
Above everything else, it’s the coaching staff that really helped Steele become the player he is today.
“This year, the coaching staff has pushed me everyday to become a better player because they know what I’m capable of,” Steele said. “That has made such a huge impact on me as a player.”