Several players on the Weyauwega-Fremont baseball team’s roster have yet to see action in a varsity game.
That’s not necessarily a bad thing, according to second-year coach Joe Sambs.
“We have a lot of freshmen that went out this year, which is good,” he said. “That helped our numbers, but we’re down a little from sophomores to seniors.”
The roster also includes two seniors (Hunter Billington and Tyler Hart); three juniors (Adam Krause, Zach Costello and Nick Walters); and five sophomores.
“Those guys are all key,” Sambs said. “We’re really going to count on them a lot this year.”
Hart has already made his mark on the team, as he was the winning pitcher and drove in three runs April 8 in a season-opening 7-5 win over Manawa.
“We started four sophomores against Manawa,” Sambs said. “We have a lot of young guys playing, a couple on the bench and some freshmen that are probably going to see some time, too.
“It was nice to get outside, but there were a lot of things that I figured were going to go wrong,” he said. “Pitchers weren’t really on their spots being on the mound for the first time and it was cold. The infielders weren’t always in the right spots for cutoffs and things like that, but we hadn’t even gone over that yet, other than on the chalkboard. With only 10 people from sophomores to seniors, we don’t have a lot, so the lineup is pretty much set. We’re looking for good plate appearances. We’re going to have a lot of young guys getting at-bats. I’d like to see them get caught up to the speed of a varsity game. We have guys that are good baseball players, they just don’t have a lot of experience. It’s about getting to know where you’re supposed to be in the right situation.”
Like other teams, the Indians are dealing with the winter that doesn’t seem to want to leave its grip on Wisconsin.
“We’re just trying to get as many practices as we can, keep practice light and change the routine,” Sambs said. “They want to get better. I see a lot of guys working to get better, even though it gets monotonous in the gym doing the same drills. They’re working hard and trying to get better.”
Stevens Point Pacelli and Amherst shared the Central Wisconsin 8 Conference championship last season. Sambs expects the league to be just as tough this year as it was in 2012.
“I think everybody’s going to be decent, like they were last year,” he said. “Anybody can beat anybody. It was tough from top to bottom and I think that’s the way it’s going to be again this year.
“One thing we want to work on this year is having a better sense of the strike zone,” he added. “We had a lot of strikeouts last year. We worked on that the other night and it showed with only a couple of strikeouts and quite a few walks. We’re looking for better pitches.”
The Indians are looking at four or five busy weeks of rescheduled games once the season does get going. This week, for instance, W-F was scheduled to host Bonduel, Oshkosh Lourdes and Shiocton and play at Pacelli.
“Once we get going, we’re going to be going,” Sambs said. “I told them that it’s important to that we take advantage of practice now. It can be a good thing because we can work out a lot of the kinks.”
Sambs is counting on his younger players to deal with the speed of the game at the varsity level.
“Going from the pitchers they saw last year to the pitchers they’re going to see this year, I think that’s the biggest adjustment,” he said. “Then there’s the speed of the runners on a groundball. Those are the big things they have to work out.”
Although there’s plenty of baseball to be played in the next 1 1/2 months, Sambs has already noticed improvement since his team started practice three weeks ago.
“We’ve come a long way in three weeks, even though it’s hard to gauge everything because we’re inside,” he said. “The stuff we’ve seen has really gotten better.”
Weyauwega-Fremont 2013 Baseball Schedule
Monday, April 8 – vs. Manawa, 4:30 p.m.
Monday, April 15 – vs. Bonduel, 4:30 p.m.
Tuesday, April 16 – vs. Oshkosh Lourdes, 5 p.m.
Thursday, April 18 – at Stevens Point Pacelli, 4:30 p.m.
Saturday, April 20 – vs. Shiocton, noon (rescheduled from April 5).
Monday, April 22 – vs. Amherst, 4:30 p.m.
Thursday, April 25 – at Shiocton, 4:30 p.m.
Saturday, April 27 – W-F Invitational vs. Burlington Catholic Central, North Fond du Lac, Fox Valley Lutheran, 9:30 a.m.
Monday, April 29 – vs. Iola-Scandinavia, 4:30 p.m.
Thursday, May 2 – at Manawa, 4:30 p.m.
Monday, May 6 – vs. Wittenberg-Birnamwood, 4:30 p.m.
Thursday, May 9 – at Bonduel, 4:30 p.m.
Friday, May 10 – at Iola-Scandinavia, 4:30 p.m.
Saturday, May 11 – at Adams-Friendship Invitational, 11 a.m.
Monday, May 13 – vs. Stevens Point Pacelli, 4:30 p.m.
Thursday, May 16 – at Amherst, 4:30 p.m.
Tuesday, April 9 – at Wild Rose, 4:30 p.m.
Friday, April 19 – at Stevens Point Pacelli, 4:30 p.m.
Saturday, April 20 – vs. Bonduel, 9:30 a.m.
Friday, April 26 – at Fox Valley Lutheran, 4:45 p.m.
Tuesday, May 7 – at Bonduel, 4:30 p.m.
Tuesday, May 14 – vs. Stevens Point Pacelli, 4:30 p.m.
Friday, May 17 – at Amherst, 4:30 p.m.
Monday, May 20 – vs. Wittenberg-Birnamwood, 4:30 p.m.