Spring snow shuffling sports schedules

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ELK MOUND, Wis. (WEAU) -- The Elk Mound baseball team is ready for action. However, that action is not taking place on the Mounders' snow-covered home field.

The Elk Mound baseball team, practicing inside the Elk Mound Middle School gymnasium.

Instead, it’s another practice inside the Elk Mound Middle School gymnasium.

"You don't think you wake up on April 16th and you're going to have a two-hour delay and so many schools even canceling school - let alone, trying to play a game," Mounders head coach Paul Andrea said to WEAU 13 News on Monday.

The Mounders had planned to take on Fall Creek earlier Monday, but that game was cancelled.

Tuesday’s showdown against Gale-Ettrick-Trempealeau – cancelled.

Games against Colfax and Arcadia later this week – also called off.

It's a recurring theme, as spring programs wonder when they'll eventually take to the field, as spring sports squads – like, Elk Mound baseball – have had to juggle schedules around as heavy snow forces teams back inside.

"I think any coach in Wisconsin has to have a bag of tricks, because we know at some point we're going to have some extended periods where were in the gym," Andrea said.

The WIAA requires all spring clubs to complete four contests to qualify as a regular season. Deputy Director Wade Labecki said the association is also offering waivers to baseball teams, allowing them to schedule two five-inning contests on a given day to help teams accrue more games on its schedules.

“I think in any sport, you really look forward to the competition against opposing teams. It can get tedious and tiring to practice against your own kids and against your teammates,” Labecki said to WEAU 13 News on Monday. “You see that in the fall and football. After two weeks of practice, they’re ready to get after somebody else. I think it’s the same thing for the spring as well.

“It comes down to competing against the pitchers and your pitchers going against their hitters. Really, that’s the fun part of competition is to see opposing people and naturally it's disappointing probably to be an inside and indoors though most of the time.”

Andrea said he is keeping the option of a waiver open for his team, but some players are hoping to get one game under their belt and escape from their confining confines.

"Sometimes it gets old - like last Friday, we didn't have practice, just because we've had so many gym practices. They just said 'Take a day off and enjoy your weekend. Relax,’" Senior pitchers and infielder Ethan Kjellberg said to WEAU 13 News on Monday.

Andrea is hoping the Mounders will be able to play their first regular-season game sometime next week, but even without playing a single inning this season, they’ve remained productive. The Mounders are set to host a youth baseball clinic later this month and Andrea brought in pizzas after a recent practice – all to help him and his players pass the time a little easier.

“I've been training since like November and December,” Kjellberg said. “So, I just want to get on a field and see what I can do, because I've gotten like gains for hitting, but I don't actually know what it looks like yet.”

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