WIAA state baseball tournament starts after rain delay

GRAND CHUTE – The rain delayed a big sporting event at Fox Cities Stadium for hours Wednesday morning.

But things were eventually able to start back up for the WIAA State Spring Baseball Tournament.

Thunderstorms overnight and rain all morning soaked the field in Grand Chute.

The first game of the day was postponed until 1:15 p.m.

Division four Pittsville took the field against Lake Country Lutheran more than five hours later than scheduled.

“We were really anxious at eight this morning, but then we got to the field and it was soaked. So we’re like alright, probably not going to play for awhile, so, but now I think we’re ready and raring to go,” said Lake Country Lutheran athlete Brad Sabol.

The relentless rain kept the grounds crew busy all morning long. In preparation for potential afternoon play, workers squeegeed the waterlogged outfield.

“We’ve been trying to stay on it so there’s not nearly as much water on it all at one time to deal with, just taking chunks at a time just to help speed the process up,” said head groundskeeper Jake Hannes.

Teams and fans waited out the weather.

“We had breakfast at IHOP, and I saw the team when they were getting ready and all hyped up, and now we’re ready to play, let’s get going!” said Pittsville fan Kate Kaster.

WIAA officials say the schedule will be condensed.

“It’s not going to be the typical, so these games are going to be sped up a little bit as far as when one team plays, game’s done and the next team so people get to the park plenty of time,” said WIAA communications director Todd Clark.

The change in schedule impacted several local teams too. Notre Dame was set to play at 6 p.m.

“We’ll be ready to go. We’d play at midnight if they told us to. So, they’re young guys, they’ll be ready and we’ll be excited to play no matter what time we take the field,” said Notre Dame baseball coach Andy Conard.

WIAA officials aren’t sure if everything will remain on schedule through the tournament’s end on Thursday. More rain is expected.

“While that may stop play, it doesn’t bring an immediate halt. When you see lightning, we have to shut down operations and move people to safe areas when there’s lightning, but when there’s rain, you can play through a little bit of that. And hopefully it’s not the point where they have to bring out the tarp and cover the field,” Clark said.

WIAA officials say if rain causes more delays, teams could play into Friday.

Click here for all updated information on the WIAA State Spring Baseball Tournament.

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