By Sam Ojeda
Sports Editor

Roots run deep in Buhler where one current and one future Hutchinson Community College baseball players are from. Not only are they Blue Dragons from Buhler, but they are also brothers.

Bradley Neill and Jeffrey Neill are as close as it gets. They have had nearly identical athletic careers leading up to high school and into college. Bradley and Jeffrey were both the starting quarterbacks during high school. They both played basketball for Buhler. Finally, they both were key contributors to the Crusaders baseball team, which is coached by their dad, John Neill. 

Bradley Neill (left) and his brother Jeffrey have long been associated with baseball.

Now, Bradley is a sophomore starting pitcher for HutchCC and Jeffrey is committed and signed to play for the Blue Dragons next season. 

Competitiveness has been a staple for the two boys from a young age.

“We always have been competing against each other and with each other,” Bradley said. “It was anything from video games to on the field, but it was always competitive.” 

Jeffrey has followed his older brother’s example for his whole life. The thing he has taken most from Bradley is his work ethic.

“He has been a great leader and he shows me how to work hard,” Jeffrey said. “His work ethic has shown me exactly what I need to do to accomplish what he has.” 

It was not a hard decision for the Neills to choose HutchCC as their next place to play baseball. The close distance and strong relationship with former Blue Dragons coach Ryan Schmidt and current coach Brock Nehls made the decision a no-brainer.

“It was always Hutch,” Bradley said. “I had a pretty close relationship with Schmidt and he was always checking in on me and that made the decision for Hutch so easy.” 

Jeffrey has had to weather a coaching change during his recruitment, and with today’s world of high school recruitment and transfer opportunities, a lot of rosters can change in a short amount of time. But for Jeffrey, Nehls made it easy for him to call HutchCC home.

“Once Schmidty left, I had my first meeting with Nehls and absolutely loved him and what he was planning to build and then I knew I had to commit here,” Jeffrey said. 

Even though he will not be here with his little brother next season, Bradley has no worries about what his brother will do at HutchCC.

“I am so excited for him,” Bradley said. “He is going to have an opportunity to use that competitiveness we have always had at a high level and he is going to have numerous opportunities to learn more about the game he loves most.” 

Bradley and Jeffrey will not be on the same roster for the 2024-2025 season but Bradley’s impact on his younger brother Jeffrey and on the culture of the Blue Dragon baseball team has paved the way for the future of his brother’s career and on the future success of Blue Dragon baseball.

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