FENNIMORE, Wis. (WKOW) -- Check out a Fennimore baseball practice and you'll hear it: laughter, jokes, cheering. It's the sound of success.
But those sounds were hardly heard at the same Fennimore ball park just a few years ago.
"A few years ago, you'd hear a pin drop," remembers head coach Brent Sheckler.
That's because in 2009 -- when this year's seniors were freshmen -- the Golden Eagles had just one win all season long, one year after another one-win season in 2008.
"It didn't feel good at all," said senior pitcher Evan Friesen. "Going out there, we'd try to win and just get killed, then leave the game in the 5th inning."
In 2010, the team saw some improvement, with five wins that season.
"I'll be honest, those were tough years for me. We played a lot of those games with nine kids on the roster and I have to thank those kids for sticking it out because it wasn't easy to stick it out," said Sheckler.
But suddenly last year, something clicked. Fennimore finished 19-5 and won the SWAL title for the first time in 11 years.
This year, the Golden Eagles are on track to be even better. They're a perfect 12-0 so far and earned the No. 1 ranking in Division 3 in the latest WBCA poll.
"I think we started to practice a little harder and we know we have the tools to win. I think we just found out that we can win and we just put it all together," said junior catcher Ian Streeter, who currently holds a .636 batting average.
"We have a lot of team chemistry. We gel," said senior second baseman Trent Davis. "This year for sure, working in the offseason and just getting together on the weekends to work on simple drills has brought us a lot closer as a team."
The Golden Eagles' success is paying off in more ways than just wins. Earlier this spring, the local booster club raised enough money to build brand-new dugouts. And Coach Sheckler hopes to continue building off this year's success.
"If we keep having [success], it's going to keep the young kids excited and they're going to keep coming out, and it's going to make my job a lot easier in future years," he said.
"People are getting excited about Fennimore baseball around here and it's been a long time since that was the case."
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