Imagine scrapping most of the upcoming baseball season in favor of a conference tournament at the end of the season.
That’s one of the possibilities the Eastern Valley Conference is kicking around thanks to a winter that apparently isn’t ready to go away.
Waupaca High School athletic director Carl Eggebrecht met with conference ADs March 12 to discuss the situation that could affect baseball and other spring sports, including softball, track, girls’ soccer and boys’ golf.
“At this point, we are keeping all schedules in place until a review on April 10,” he said. “If the weather has affected the start of the season to that point, we may consider a single game for baseball rather than a two-game conference schedule or possibly a conference tournament at the end of the season. This is only at the discussion stages. Softball could possibly be scheduled with all doubleheaders in conference games rather than some single games. This is also in the discussion stages.”
Waupaca’s baseball team will open practice Monday, March 24, and is scheduled to open the season Tuesday, April 1, at home against Little Chute.
Other area teams have their first game scheduled even earlier. Weyauwega-Fremont’s varsity and junior varsity softball teams have games scheduled against Wautoma for Thursday, March 27. The varsity team is scheduled to play in Wautoma, while the JV squad is scheduled to host the Hornets.
The biggest effect will be on baseball, according to Eggebrecht.
“You’re limited to rotational days with pitchers,” he said.
Although Iola-Scandinavia’s softball doesn’t have a regular-season game on the schedule until Thursday, April 3, coach Tom Anderson is leaving this week with the team for a weeklong trip to Florida, where the Thunderbirds will play four games against teams from Wisconsin, Illinois and Alabama as well as scrimmage against a team from Minnesota.
“The week in sunny Florida will hopefully give us a jump on the season,” Anderson said. “Anytime we can get outside to practice, play games and work on real game-like situations that are hard to duplicate in the gym should be a real benefit to us.”
The trip also allows the team to build chemistry, according to Anderson.
“We will spend a lot of time together as a team with traveling on the bus, practicing, playing games and visiting the theme parks,” he said. “We will have over 70 people in our travel party.”
The T-Birds didn’t play their first game last year until April 13 with temperatures in the mid-30s and snow flurries.
“We ended up playing 22 games in a short period of time,” Anderson said. “It is a little easier to get our allotted games played or rescheduled because softball does not restrict the number of innings our pitchers can pitch, unlike baseball. I’m hoping the poor weather does not force our conference to reduce or schedule from a double round-robin conference schedule to a single round-robin schedule.”
“Track shouldn’t be an issue and soccer teams can play as soon as the grass starts showing up,” Eggebrecht said. “Who knows about golf? It depends on when the golf courses open.”