American Legion Jays ready to take flight

The Jays first home games at Butler Park go May 27, a doubleheader against the Northeast 49ers.

The Trail Jays step up to the plate this weekend as they embark on another baseball season with a fresh crop of young players eager to support a solid core of veterans.

The Jays head to Kalispell, Mont. today for the Canadian Days American Legion tournament, with an influx of youth, speed, and an energized club set to take on some of American Legion’s best AA teams.

“I’m really proud of the way they are progressing so far through this first week of practice and I’m excited for this weekend,” said assistant coach Chris Combo.

The Jays lost some strong position players and long ball hitters in Brady Glover, Garrett Kucher, Gerry Rebelato, and Jesse Rypien.

“We lost a few key players, but I am anxious to see what the new guys can bring to the program.”

Returning players like Scott Davidson, Tanner Rotschy, Scott Robertson and Dallas Calvin will lead the Jays, with pitchers Jarrett Conway and Calvin anchoring the pitching staff.

“We’ve lost a few good ones (pitchers) but we still got our big hoss, Dallas, on the mound and a few other pretty good pitchers, so I feel our staff this year is going to be pretty good.”

In this year’s edition, every player on the roster is eligible to play again next year so the approach to this season may be to work on fundamentals and build for the next season.

“This whole year is a big long marathon, not a sprint,” said Combo. “We try to get guys to improve every day in practice and you know by the end of the year they improve so much, the next year we’re going to be that much better,” he added.

The Jays open the Kalispell tournament tonight at 5 p.m. versus the Whitefish Glacier Twins, then play Kalispell AA Lakers Saturday at 11:30 a.m. and Sherwood Park AA at 2 p.m. The playoffs go Sunday.

The Jays first home games at Butler Park go May 27, a doubleheader against the Northeast 49ers.