2012 was a historic year for SPASH baseball making it to the state tournament for the first time in eight years, only to lose in the semifinals.
Now in 2013, the Panthers are hoping to claw their way back to state.
"For a player, you know, it's a totally different feeling than playing on any other field. There's a lot of pressure," senior pitcher and third baseman Sterling King said.
But to get back, the team needs to fill some large holes left by the 12 players that graduated.
"We know the juniors are gonna have to carry us," junior pitcher and infielder Cal Giese said. "We're not gonna get down that we lost a lot of seniors, but we've been working hard, and we know it's gonna be a challenge, but we all have confidence and think we can do it."
In all, the team returns five players who contributed to last season's Wisconsin Valley Championship. But it won't be easy to make another run.
"I think I need to see this group defend," SPASH head coach Kraig Terpstra said. "There are some question marks. We have a lot of new starters defensively. That's just stuff I'm looking. Maybe not weaknesses, they're question marks right now."
They'll also have to get past rival DC Everest, a team ranked fifth in the preseason coaches poll and also picked to win the conference.
"You know, it's different," King said.
"Last year, you go in, and those teams wanna play to beat us. And that's how they're gonna be this year. They're gonna be in that number one position. But we're gonna come at them and play to take it away."
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