They did it for a fourth year in a row.
There were ups and downs. They handed out some beat downs and they were beat down.
Through it all though, the Spring Valley prep baseball team was even-keeled. The reward was a fourth DSC title in as many years.
“One of the big things for us coming into the year was our returning experience,” Sean Borgerding said. “We had eight seniors starting for us.
“It allowed us not to start panicking when we got down by a few runs.”
Head coach Brad Baker was happy to bring in another conference title for Spring Valley.
“One of the goals of the team every year is to win conference and for some to say they did it four times is pretty special,” Baker said.
It wasn’t all smooth sailing, though. Experience helped the Cardinals (12-5, 9-2 DSC) overcome difficult nights like their 13-0 loss to Elk Mound and their 17-3 loss to Durand on Monday, May 15.
They had to be resilient.
Those games may have gotten away from the Cardinals, but Baker said the team did a good job of doing what was expected of them.
“One thing we've done well is win the games we should,” Baker said. “We are not a real rah rah kind of group but we give it our all for however long it takes to win the game. And if we don't win we try to learn from mistakes and move on.”
A lineup full of seniors can wear on an opposition. The number of seniors playing for Spring Valley helps the team find a variety of contributors.
“The leadership we have along with the experience helped when we got into games where a couple of people were struggling at the plate,” Borgerding said. “We had people step up and they came through clutch.”
Borgerding said a perfect example of that was against Pepin/Alma on Thursday, May 11 when No. 6 batter Jaydon Nyeggen and No. 9 batter Levi Sands each hit home runs in a 6-4 victory.
Playoff games are often won by teams that are carried by their seniors. A potential good omen for the Cardinals when they open up at home against Glenwood City on Thursday, May 25.
“At this time of year it's survive and advance and hopefully we can do that as long as possible,” Baker said.