GREEN BAY — Look at Matt Seablom’s hat and it’s pretty obvious this isn’t the same baseball hat he wore a season ago, and it’s not because it’s new.
The Green Bay East senior outfielder has an “E” and a “W” on his hat, because this season East has some new teammates.
Green Bay West and Green Bay East have combined this season to form one team, mainly due to the lack of participants at West.
These schools have battled more than 100 times in football, so the rivalry goes deep. But this season the Red Devils and Wildcats have combined, and after the initial shock of becoming teammates the players have adjusted quite well.
"I know that these two schools have been rivals for many, many years so it was kind of an odd pairing when it was presented to us and proposed, but once we got the kids together and they spent time working; we got more important challenges than what school a kid's from, so they've handled it awesome, absolutely wonderful," East-West coach Pete Bauer said.
West had 15 players in its entire baseball program last year and has 14 joining East this season, three on varsity. Bauer said if West didn’t join a team this year playing on the varsity level would’ve been unfair.
West and East combined for four Fox River Classic Conference wins last season, but this year the team is 2-2 in league play with wins over Green Bay Southwest and Green Bay Preble.
Nick Gretzon, a senior at West, has never been happier playing high school baseball.
“This is the first year I've truly been excited to go to a practice, a high school practice,” Gretzon said. “I've been excited to be around these guys, have these guys on the field with me. For us West guys, especially our senior year, this has been a great thing for us, definitely a gift for us."
The transition has been helped by success. East-West has split its first four games and recording wins over other city schools helps. However, the win over east-side rival Preble on Tuesday was a big deal.So far,
"I can't describe that with words,” Seablom said. “That felt pretty amazing. I was looking forward to that the entire school day and when we got through it and we got that last out it Felt pretty amazing."
East-West might’ve struggled last season, but coming together so far has equaled better results. And the players don’t even think about being a co-op program.
They’re in this together and when they break from the team huddle, there isn’t an East, West, Red Devils or Wildcats chant.
"We just break down to, 'WE,' like what it says on our hats, so we don't really have a team mascot anymore,” Seablom said. “It's just us together."
East and west together, who knew it would be this good?