Hitting their stride

Boys baseball push toward playoff success

Jeremy Johnson, Sports Editor

Sometimes all you can hope to do is give yourself a chance come playoff time.

That’s exactly what the Vikings baseball team has done.

“We’re doing really well this year,” pitcher Malcolm Grady said. “There are a couple games we’d love to have back, but other than that the season has been going good.”

Sitting pretty at 20-6, the Vikings have fared well during the regular season.

It’s now time to shift gears with the postseason right around the corner.

“We need to go game by game and stay in the moment,” pitcher Jeremy Orbik said.

Heartbreak is often part of the process in trying to take the next step as a team.

That heartbreak from last year’s first round defeat has driven the Vikings to be better than ever.

“Last year’s loss taught us not to take any thing or team for granted,” first baseman Bryce Gray said. “We beat Lincoln-Way East twice in the regular season, so we thought we had a win for sure. It didn’t work out that way. It taught me to play hard every game no matter the opponent.”

Great leadership is essential to any team’s success.

That leadership starts with Coach Todd Sippel, who on April 7 became the school’s winningest baseball coach ever with his 260th win.

“I’m very honored to be the coach for 13 years,” Sippel said. “Most of the credit goes to many excellent players who have gone through here.”

Expectations are often made before the season starts.

It can be very tough to reach those expectations when all eyes are on you.

“I expect us to go down state,” Gray said. “I really mean that because this is one of the best teams H-F has ever had.”

Staying healthy plays a big role in a team’s fortune as well.

Taking extra care of your body outside of school can make all the difference.

“I stay healthy during the season by eating healthier, running, and doing more agility workouts,” Orbik said.

Playing to your advantage is a vital part of a championship run.

The advantage the Vikings have, according to Gray, is their experience.

“We have a senior dominant team,” Gray said. “The majority of this year’s team was on last year’s team, so we know what to do and what not to do.”

The team wraps up the regular season tomorrow when they face off against Bloom.

The real season begins on Monday.

“To advance we need great pitching and defense,” Sippel said. “We need to play consistent for seven straight games.”