West De Pere, De Pere baseball players come together during Legion season
KIMBERLY (WLUK) -- This week baseball teams throughout the state are competing for Legion state championships, including the eight-team field in the AAA Legion tournament at Kimberly's Sunset Park.
One of those teams is De Pere, which has an interesting makeup of players who played at West De Pere and De Pere high schools.
The schools don't regularly compete against each other as they play in different conferences, but they are rivals. Nonetheless, during the Legion season they come together to form one team.
"During the high school baseball season De Pere and West De Pere battle in different conferences, but when the summer comes these teams come together to form the De Pere Legion baseball team that is competing this week in the state tournament in Kimberly. For the players, it's a great experience to play with different teammates."
"It's definitely weird. We don't get to play them because they are not in our conference, so we don't get to play them in conference play," said former West De Pere outfielder Matthew McNabb. "Growing up, seventh grade, eighth grade we would always have a nice rivalry.
"It's really nice to have some nice players from the other side of the river playing with us. And when we all get on the field, we're all just a bunch of teammates, bunch of brothers playing baseball together, having fun."
"It's cool," former De Pere player Tyler Rouze said. "You play against them, usually in high school, at least I did last year, so it's kind of cool to come together.
"There's a lot of talent that comes together, so it's usually a lot of fun. We make a lot of friends over the course of the summer."
Manager Kevin Norman doesn't coach during the high school season but he sees the team coming together.
"These guys generally mesh together pretty well," Norman said. "They play together at a really young age. They all know each other, for the most part."
De Pere is 1-1 in the state tournament and plays in an elimination game Thursday.
Follow Doug Ritchay on Twitter @dougritchay