Parker's state baseball campaign starts today
GRAND CHUTE—Game day has arrived.
The Janesville Parker baseball team plays at the WIAA Division 1 state baseball tournament beginning at 10:30 a.m. today in a quarterfinal game against Bay Port.
It will be a dream moment for a group of Vikings players who have spent many summers together.
“This is something I've been dreaming about since I can remember,” senior catcher Will Theisen said. “Playing through Janesville Youth Baseball my 13- and 14-year-old years, you made it to the state tournament, but it was always chasing that state title. Mine and Cullen (Osmond)'s team never did that, but just making it to the WIAA state tournament is on par with winning one of those tournaments.
“It's finally good to be a part of a team that is successful like that.”
Despite winning just seven games a year ago, Theisen said reaching state was a goal because so many experienced players were returning.
Still, the Vikings didn't truly start thinking about a trip to state until recently.
“I don't think any of us were really thinking about going to state,” junior left fielder Logan Coulter said. “We were just thinking about winning games. It didn't really hit us until the final few games that we could go to state.”
Parker traveled to Grand Chute on Monday for a practice ahead of this morning's game. The Vikings are 22-5 and finished second in a Big Eight Conference that sent three of the field's eight Division 1 state teams.
Bay Port is 22-6 and won the Fox River Classic Conference. The Pirates are making their third straight trip to state and eighth of the last 12 years. They won the state title in 2009 and 2010 and finished second in 2012.
Parker is back at state for the first time since 1992.
“I didn't realize until we had our team banquet a couple weeks ago,” Osmond, a senior center fielder, said. “We had a 10-game winning streak and a seven-game winning streak, and now hopefully we can have another six-game winning streak if we can get to Thursday.”