KIMBERLY, Wis. - High school baseball across Wisconsin is about to be in full swing.
Defending Division 1 champ Kimberly kicked off its first week of practice this week, returning five starters this season from that state championship squad.
The Papermakers were able to take advantage of an early start to practice in the school's new $5.5 million indoor athletic facility, which was finished this past fall. The facility has a turf field, weight room, indoor track and field area and gym.
But the baseball team is taking advantage of the big space to get back to the basics before hitting the actual diamond March 31 in a scrimmage against Kenosha Tremper.
"We're able to get so many kids through in a shorter amount of time and be more efficient," said head coach Ryan McGinnis. "One reason I like being in Wisconsin coaching is it forces you in small spaces to really focus on the fundamentals and the foundation of what you do. So I never want to get away from that. I've always said if I coached in Florida, we'd still be inside for the first week or so to really get those basics and not just go out and play."
That being said, Kimberly's staff and players also appreciate being indoors to start the baseball season when temperatures in Northeast Wisconsin are still in the 20s and 30s.
"I guess just kind of laying the foundation of our team and stuff, kind of just getting the basics down and then once we get outside, we'll get in a little more situationals and a little more of baseball. But right now, we're just kind of laying the foundations of offense and defense," said catcher Beau Schumacher, who was on last year's team. "Everyone's excited, everyone's ready for it. Everyone's looking forward to getting outside, seeing some live pitching and stuff, you know. Just everyone's really excited to get going again."