A Willie Nelson classic, slightly modified, serves as the theme song for the 2008 Greenfield baseball team:
"On The Road Again....And Again....And Again....And Again...."
Because of ongoing construction at the high school, the Hustlin' Hawks are being forced to play all their games at opponents' home fields this summer. Although Greenfield is designated as the home team and given the last at-bats for some of those contests, the never-ending road trip is an inconvenience in at least two ways.
"When you're home, you have your friends and parents watching," pitcher Jake Hansen said. "(For road games), they (the friends) maybe don't know where the school is or don't have a car, so they can't come."
Teammate Jack Nickeas added, "Apart from parents, we don't get many fans. We have a couple of troopers who have come out to every game."
Also, the bus rides cut into the team's practice time. "At home, we would maybe show up at 2 p.m. for a 5 p.m. game," Hansen said. "We would have one to two hours of warmup, infield (practice), outfield, hitting, stretching. On the road, the home team is on the field already, so you get maybe a half hour tops.
"We meet (earlier in the afternoon) and get some stretching in before we leave, but on the bus ride, you just get tight again."
Still, the Hawks have hung tough, coming into this week at 9-5 in the Woodland Conference South Division, just one game behind leader Cudahy.
'I am surprised we came out and played as well as we did," Hansen said.
Before the season, coach Lee Kleszczynski presented the team with T-shirts that read, "Greenfield Baseball: It's Not Where You Play, It's How You Play," and the Hawks took the message to heart.
"We're out here, and we want to prove to ourselves that we can play well anywhere," Hansen declared.
Nickeas added, "We just went with that, and we said we would just play like we play, wherever we are."
Kleszczynski and assistant coach Dan Marx also offered a few words of motivation for his players. "They told us to come out every day, and if we're the 'home' team, to play as if it's our home field, and if we're 'away,' to play the same way," Hansen said.
To Kleszczynski's satisfaction, they have done just that. "I haven't heard any complaints from the players," the coach said. "They bought into it. The guys are just coming out and playing ball. We've been winning games, so it has not come up as a problem."
In fact, the adversity has made the Hawks a closer team. "We stay focused and we stay together," Nickeas said. "We pick each other up. We went into this with confidence, and we know there's nothing we can do about it."