OCONTO — As high school baseball teams get ready for their seasons, a familiar sense of uncertainty returns. Early-season schedules might as well be written in pencil with cold weather lingering and fields sure to be soggy. Monday marked the first day high school baseball teams could practice, with many opting to work indoors.
"It'd sure be nice to be on the field this time of year,” said Oconto High School sophomore Grant Frazer.
The Blue Devils are coming off a baseball state title, their first state championship in any sport. That means expectations are high, and the team is eager to start their title defense.
"I plan for the worst and hope for the best, that's what we do here,” said Oconto head coach Brian Sohrweide. “If we're in the gym for two months, we're in the gym for two months. We'll deal with it."
The team worked out primarily in two gyms at Oconto Middle School, though a little snow-free blacktop space outside allowed for a short session of long toss. Players say they’re prepared for weeks of indoor work, which has its perks.
”Being inside, close with everyone kind of forms a better bond,” said Oconto senior Teague Camps. “We're all together, we're close."
There is a worry the frosty temperatures will take a bite out of their schedule this season. Last year, the Blue Devils played 20 games total, including a run to the state championship; Sohrweide says he usually likes to schedule 20 games during the regular season.
For now, it’s staying inside, and short sessions on the blacktop until the field is ready. The team won’t be working too much on pop flies until fields are dry, either, with houses close by to the only snow-free area.
"Actually haven't broke a window yet but we've had a few close calls,” said senior Kyle Krueger.