Greendale has decided to leave the WIAA summer baseball season to play in the spring, starting in 2019.
Another school is bringing its participation in the WIAA summer baseball season to an end.
Greendale announced this week that 2018 will be its last season participating in the summer season. The Panthers will join the spring season in 2019. According to head coach Brian Johnsen, a number of factors ultimately went into the decision, including more time for player development, keeping players competing for the school instead of travel teams and better competition for the JV and freshmen levels.
One of the biggest drawbacks for perennially successful teams playing in the summer as opposed to the spring is the loss of talent to travel teams. The best players at a school that plays summer baseball often choose to play for travel teams due to the chance to get more exposure from scouts and play better competition. They only suit up for their school’s varsity team in their senior year after they have completed their recruiting process.
Greendale was affected by that last summer. Griffin Doersching ended up committing to Northern Kentucky while playing for travel teams, then played for Greendale in his senior year. He hit 13 home runs and earned first team all-state honors for the Panthers.
The move to spring will negate that by giving players the chance to play for both their school and travel teams.
“I want every baseball player at Greendale playing for us. All our players should be participating in education-based athletics,” Johnsen said.
With teams playing several games per week in the summer, there is not as much time for player instruction at practices as some coaches would like.
“We need more practice time to develop our players. Our coaching staff felt we have become game managers,” Johnsen said.
The move also lets younger players develop at the lower levels, where the competition is better in the spring season.
In the summer, the appeal of playing for a school’s JV team is usually not the same as playing for a travel team for younger kids.
“We were moving younger players up when they weren’t ready due to declining competition at the lower levels,” Johnsen said.
Playing in the spring also allows the student body to be more engaged with the team, since school will still be in session when it plays.
Greendale’s move comes after perennial summer contender Oak Creek announced late this summer it would be switching from the summer season to the spring in 2019.
The Panthers reached the sectional semifinals in each of the last four years, and the sectional finals in 2014. They went 21-11 last summer.