Neither rain nor wind nor opposing pitchers have been able to slow the OTHS baseball juggernaut as the spring season approaches its midway point.
Among the many players who have made extraordinary contributions to the current glittering 18-1 record, junior Hayden Juenger is certainly near the top of the list — deserving of this week’s top athlete award. His statistics demonstrate his prowess as O’Fallon’s top pitcher and one of the Panthers’ premier batters. In a recent showdown with conference rival Edwardsville, Juenger stymied the Tigers with his mound artistry, allowing just one run and limiting them to just four hits. Prior to the Edwardsville victory, the OTHS hurler shutout Belleville East 3-0 in a complete game 4-hitter, striking out eight Lancer batters.
“On the mound, he is our number one guy,” said Panther coach Jason Portz. “He has been just as effective in the batter’s box. He has a strong desire to do well personally on the field and in the classroom. He is a diligent worker, always looking to improve and become a more complete player.”
When not putting up impressive numbers on the hill, the O’Fallon junior contributes consistently to the OTHS offense. In recent games Panther victories over Granite City, Edwardsville and Highland, Juenger was a .500 batter, driving in five runs and producing a slugging percentage of .489.
“I play baseball because I enjoy being challenged to do well, and I have always loved baseball,” said the talented Panther diamondman, the son of Shannon and Shannon Juenger. “I began playing when I was five, and it was all because of my parents. My success has come from their support along with my coaches and teammates. They have always pushed me to do my best.”
“Competing in sports has made me realize how lucky and blessed I am,” Juenger added. “It has also caused me to never take anything for granted. It has motivated me to always work hard at anything I do.”