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Denmark focused on winning conference title

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Denmark is leading the North Eastern Conference. (WLUK)

LUXEMBURG (WLUK) -- Last year the Denmark softball team reached the state tournament for the first time since 1997, and as great as that accomplishment was the Vikings are aiming at something else this season.

They have their eye on another title.

"We've had a lot of success the past few years but a conference title has eluded us," coach Mike Vakselis said. "So one of our main focuses, one of our main goals was to win the conference title. I think we're putting ourselves in a pretty good situation, although we have a lot of good opponents coming up."

Denmark beat Luxemburg-Casco 5-1 Thursday in a battle of one-loss teams in the North Eastern Conference. Friday, Denmark gave that win back when it split a doubleheader with Marinette.

Nonetheless, the Vikings are in position to win the NEC as it, Oconto Falls and L-C each have two conference losses.

"I'm very confident, we work hard every day, we push though all the games, all the hard games we come through in the end," junior Abby Maricque said. "I think we can do it."

Last year, Denmark ended its drought of reaching the state tournament, and while winning the NEC is a goal, making it back to state is also a goal.

"That was the best time ever, everyone had such a blast," Maricque said. "We want to push it to get there. It's never been done in 18 years or whatever it was, a long time, so, yeah, we want to get back there again."

"After you get a taste of that like last year, absolutely," Vakselis said. "That should always be a goal going into every season."

"It's very driving and trying to like motivate us," pitcher Grace Nys said. "It's a goal for all of us once again because that experience is such an amazing experience that we want to be able to share it again."

If Denmark is to get there, it starts with Nys. She's a three-year starter and a difference-maker.

"When she's out there we have a lot of confidence on what we're doing and we know she's going to keep us in games," Vakselis said. "She's a huge part of what our success is."

Follow Doug Ritchay on Twitter @dougritchay

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