By Gary R. Rasberry
By the time the week is up, fans of New Bremen sports teams will get to know the way to Huber Heights pretty well.
For the first time ever, the Cardinals' baseball and softball teams will play in the regional tournament at the same time, held at Wayne High School.
If both teams win their semifinal games -- the softball team on Wednesday and the baseball team on Friday -- Saturday will be a very busy day as both teams will play for a berth in the state semifinals on that day within a span of two hours.
"It hasn't sunk in yet," said senior pitcher Julie Griesdorn on the thought of being the first Cardinal softball team to make the regionals. "But I think it will on Wednesday (when New Bremen plays Bradford)."
The feeling of success this spring has abounded in the school district. "It's exciting. No other team in softball has been this far. I'm happy for them. We're all happy," said senior outfielder Kelly Steineman. "To have three teams from our school win district titles (the New Bremen boys track team captured the Division III Minster District title on Saturday) is exciting."
For the boys, the good feeling has set in.
"It's set in, but in a way, I expected it," said senior outfielder Andy McMurray. "We didn't do well at the start of the season, but I knew we were going to play. Now we're playing where we should be."
McMurray also talked about how the success of the football team this season, which he and others on the baseball team were key players, played a part.
The baseball players are looking at the game as just another game.
"It's game by game," said senior centerfielder Craig Eiting. "We're having fun with it."
The town of New Bremen, which got a taste of tournament runs in football during this past fall, have taken the teams in as well.
"With Graduation last weekend, it was like 'Congratulations' this and 'Congratulations' that," said Griesdorn. "Everybody was excited. The guys were pumped, the coaches were pumped. It was nice to see a big smile on the coaches' faces. You don't see that out of my dad (Cardinals head softball coach Craig Griesdorn) very much. It's exciting for everybody because this is the farthest the girls have ever been."
Big wins like the teams have had of late also helps for the future baseball and softball players.
"I think we're good role models for the little ones. They look up to us," said Steineman. "Coach Griesdorn always tells us to go out and have fun and do our best."
The two programs have risen to strength this season while playing a tough schedule with their matchups in the Midwest Athletic Conference.
"The MAC is a good league," said Greisdorn, noting that league members Parkway and Versailles are also still playing at this time. "It's good practice and competition. The farther the season went on, the better we got. We became more relaxed. It takes a whole team to win and that's what we are."
"The Coldwater game was big for us," said Eiting, referring to the Cardinals' 11-9 win over the Cavaliers, spoiling Coldwater's chance for a perfect conference season. "We haven't beaten them in years and they are a good team. It brings to mind that we can beat anybody."
When the teams have the chance, they get over and watch the others' games.
"We come when we can, but usually we're playing the same night," said Griesdorn. "So we couldn't go. But we ask them how they're doing and we're supportive."
If all goes well on Saturday, both teams could get the chance to watch the other. The softball team would play at noon on one side of the high school. At 2 p.m., across the parking lot at the baseball diamond, the boys would get their chance.
"I really would like to. I want to see them play and win and then go across the school lot to play our game," said McMurray. "It seems (games) are at the same time. It stinks to miss your own classmates doing just as good winning. ... I would love to make the trip across the lot."
"It would be awesome if we won, the boys won and the track team won regional all in one (weekend)," said Steineman.