DENMARK, Wis. (WFRV) – As snow floats down to the ground in mid-April in Wisconsin, the sound of a baseball hitting the back of gloves fills the air in the gym at Denmark high school.
It’s there that you’ll find the Denmark Vikings baseball team, quietly putting in the work to have a successful 2022 season. After all, they won the whole enchilada, the WIAA Division II state title in 2021. The team, however, isn’t focused on the pressure that being the defending state champions brings.
“Yeah, we just try to put that behind us,” senior Hayden Konkol said. “Really, we’re just starting up this new year and getting focused on what we’re trying to do this season.”
His teammates echo that focus and humility. The Vikings don’t need any motivation to try and get back to the state tournament.
“We know we’ve got a target on our backs,” senior Abe Kapinos said. “We just want to stay close to each other and just keep it in and finish the season how we’d like to finish it.”
For their coach Bill Miller, he’s focused on making sure his players have fun while playing baseball the right way.
“Last year, that was a special season. We told the guy, you’re going to have a target on your back every game. These other teams are going to come in, wanting to give their best when they play you guys,” Miller said. “They realize that and we’re not expecting them to repeat what they did last year, that was incredible, winning 31 games, so we just let the guys know, you guys do what you can and that’ll be good enough.”
The Vikings lost a ton of talent pitching-wise with the departure of three seniors from last year’s team, but so far, pitching has stood up to the challenge for Denmark and helped the Vikings get to a 5-1 mark so far on the season.
“I think we can go as far as we want, as far as last year,” Konkol said. “We lost three great pitchers but this year, we’ve picked up right where we left off so I think we can go as far as we want.”