Eau Claire (WQOW) -- Both Elk Mound and Bloomer went unbeaten in winning their respective conferences last season, and both the Mounders and Blackhawks have high expectations for this year.
With that being the case, the head coaches like having a chance to evaluate players in a new setting--they have that opportunity, Tuesday, as the teams scrimmage at the Eau Claire Indoor Sports Center.
"Today is mostly about pitching and hitting, that's all your going to see here. the bases are shorter and everything's a little bit different," says Bloomer head coach Keith Poirer, "for the batters to get in some live pitching and for our pitchers to be able to throw strikes and see where they are at, to actual batters out instead of just throwing in the gym."
"I told the kids last night at practice if we take anything away it's really just going to be the ability to see live pitching," says Elk Mound head coach Samantha Weix, "with our small space we really don't have a place for that other maybe some bunting off live pitching."
Last season, Elk Mound advanced to a WIAA Division 3 regional final, while Bloomer went on to win the Division 3 sectional. The Mounders and Blackhawks could wind up seeing each other this postseason.
"We bring back six starters from the team that went to state last year," Poirer says, "we hope that we can build on those six and build around them. Obviously we need to replace a pitcher who was our all state girl last year. Now we have a pretty talented freshman and hopefully she can get comfortable. Everyone else will pickup the pace around her and we will be solid by the end of the season."
"They're ready to work to contend for our regional title again," says Weix, "we know that that's not an easy route. Lots of conference teams for us that are going to be coming after us, and I think that we are going to see a lot of good competition."
Elk Mound finished 22-5 overall last season, with Bloomer winding up 24-5.