GRAND CHUTE — The Pittsville baseball team’s season had barely ended Wednesday afternoon when its attention already turned to next year.
The Panthers reached the WIAA Division 4 state semifinals this year with just two seniors, and with the bulk of the team returning, the expectations should be high next spring.
Pittsville coach Bill Urban, however, said his players need to put the work in over the next few months to help the team meet those goals.
“As I’ve always said, conference titles and state runs are made in the summer. They’re not made in the spring,” Urban said after the Panthers’ 10-3 loss to Coleman — the eventual state champions — at Fox Cities Stadium.
Pittsville, which finished with a 19-7 record, had the summer begin a day earlier than it hoped, but the loss didn’t take away from what the Panthers were able to accomplish this season. The Panthers, who finished third in the Marawood Conference South Division, came into state having won eight of their previous nine games.
The state trip was the second for Pittsville in the program’s history, the other coming in 2006.
“We had it as our goal since the first day of open gym to get down to state,” junior Sawyer Ladick said. “We all wanted to be here and worked hard. We started out (the season) shaky, but we pulled through and played good, solid baseball at the end.”
Greenwood, a team with four seniors, had its perfect season come to an end with an 8-5 loss to Johnson Creek in a Division 4 state semifinal matchup as well. Greenwood captured the Cloverbelt Conference East Division championship and was the top-ranked Division 4 team in the Wisconsin Baseball Coaches Association state poll.
“(The players) never looked at the record (during the season), or that a loss would be our first,” Greenwood coach Kent Hinker said. “They just took it one game at a time.”
Added Greenwood senior Josh Harlander, “This was a great experience and it’s great to be down here (at state). When we look back, in the grand scheme of things, to lose your only game (of the season) at state, it was a great season.”