OSHKOSH, Wis (WFRV) – The Burgert family started the Wisconsin All-Stars baseball team in 1998 and has become one of the premier 12U programs in the state.
And they’ve done so by practicing and training for one tournament every summer at Cooperstown Dreams Park where the Baseball Hall of Fame is located.
“We practice over 20 some times and we’re in a very unique situation that we practice to play one tournament,” said Brian Bergert. “We’ve done very well in this tournament for the past 23 years. We were fortunate that we won it in 2000, and we took second in 2014. We’ve been to the semi-finals a couple times, and we finished in the top 9, 15 out of 19 years, so we’ve had great success.”
The Wisconsin All-Stars play baseball against teams from all over the United States in the Cooperstown tournament, and their tryout selection process is generally attended by players from NorthEast Wisconsin.
“You know with all the academies that are out there, we don’t get the kids anymore from Milwaukee, or Racine and the rest of the state,” said Burgert. “It’s usually from about a 60-mile radius. That’s about as far as they come from now.”
With well over 100 years of coaching experience combined between three coaches, the Wisconsin All-Stars staff know what it takes to be successful, but their demanding demeanor isn’t just a tough-love approach all the time.
“We always try to tell them what they did wrong, but then we always gotta find a spot on what they did right,” said Burgert. “Once in a while, they get humbled because they’re the best players in all other teams. that’s the main thing that we try to teach them all the time is, it’s a very humbling game.”
The Wisconsin All-Stars definitely put in the work with four-hour practices (as many as three times a week), and the kids understand just how special their August trip to Cooperstown will be.
“I’m really excited to go to Cooperstown because you just get to be out there playing baseball,” said De Pere’s Max Goebel. “We get to stay in a nice place with all our buddies and it’s just really cool. We have kids from everywhere and we get to come together and play on one team. Everybody gets better when they come here three times a week and we try to get better every single day.” Freedom’s Donovan Davis added, “It’s a really big dream and it came true for all of us, and to just play at the Hall of Fame? It’s gonna be a really great experience.”