Decorah Head Baseball Coach Dennis Olejniczak hits a ball during fielding practice. Olejniczak would like to see the state discuss extending the playing season. (Photo by Jennifer Bissell)
Decorah Head Baseball Coach Dennis Olejniczak hits a ball during fielding practice. Olejniczak would like to see the state discuss extending the playing season. (Photo by Jennifer Bissell)
With 52 years in the coach’s box and another four as a player, Decorah Head Baseball Coach Dennis Olejniczak has seen a lot of good, positive changes in the game.
He was a part of a coaches advisory assication that helped initiate the use of a courtesy runner for pitchers and catchers and also put a limit on the amount of innings a hurler could throw in a specified time period.
Now, Olejniczak would like to see the state pursue a new change – increasing the playing season from seven weeks and three days to a full nine-weeks.

By state law
Currently, the state of Iowa allows teams to begin practice the first Monday in May, which was May 5 this season. The first three weeks are spent solely on practice, with teams working around spring sports schedules. The first game can be held three weeks after the first practice, which this year was Memorial Day, May 26.
Teams can have a maximum of 40 games during the regular season, with no contests against American Legion or AAU squads.
Class 1A and 2A teams start the playoffs at the end of the seventh week while Class 3A and 4A have seven weeks and three days to get their season in.
In the veteran coach’s opinion, having a 40-game schedule is generous. For the Viking squad, Olejniczak said he prefers to have around 33 games a season.
“It’s hard to find quality pitching to throw a compliment of 40 games,” he said.
Olejniczak also cited the difficulty in scheduling that many games, while not sacrificing practice time.

For the complete story and additional photos, pick up Decorah Newspapers at one of the many convenient locations throughout Decorah and Winneshiek County. Or, for 34 cents an issue, subscribe to Decorah Newspapers by calling (563) 382-4221.