Giants Expect Big Year

June 18, 2010

The Oshkosh Giants are expecting big things out of this years squad.

Wisconsin State League

Make no mistake — these guys want to win.

Just because the Oshkosh Giants, a semi-pro baseball team made up of University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh players, aren’t representing their university doesn’t mean they don’t want to make the most out of their Wisconsin State League games over the summer.

“No matter what I do, whether it’s playing board games with my family or whatever, I always want to win,” outfielder Blake Berger said. “I’ve never had a problem coming out and being ready for a game, no matter what.”

Oshkosh North alum and former UWO standout Brad Demmin is back for his second year as field manager, a role he’s growing more comfortable with.

“I feel like it’s great coaching experience,” Demmin said. “I’d like to coach after I graduate.”

Only one season removed from being a Titan player himself, Demmin is finding it easier to issue the orders to ex-teammates.

“There’s a balance,” Demmin said. “They all call me ‘coach,’ they’re getting used to it. It was tough at first, but now they’re all getting on board with it. They’re finally realizing I know a few things.”

Demmin has some similarities to UWO coach Tom Lechnir, his players say.

“They’re both competitive and intense,” outfielder Doug Beattie said. “Our goal is to get better for the UWO season, of course, but we’re still trying to win (here).”

Playing together helps build bonds among teammates and helps players get used to each other’s tendencies.

“If they play together, they’ll learn how to win,” Demmin said. “Some of these guys didn’t necessarily play last year, and this is an opportunity for them to learn how to win together.”

Highlighting the Giants squad this year is former West standout Kyle Kannenberg, speedster Derek Leighton and sluggers Berger and Beattie.

The players use the Giants season as a chance to learn how to win games and also to improve their individual skills.

“I’m working on seeing the ball better and recognizing pitches, and my defense, of course,” Beattie said.

Added Berger: “It’s definitely a good time to improve and work on your hitting and fielding. It’s good to be able to play so many games just to get the repetition.”

The pressure of trying to win a Wisconsin Intercollegiate Athletic Conference championship is also off, meaning more time to reflect on individual performances.

“We don’t look so much as the results, we can break things down more,” Leighton said. “It’s not such a pressure situation all the time.”

The Giants return to home action Tuesday against the Manitowoc Bandits. All home games are played at E.J. Schneider Field located next to Oshkosh North High School.

Story by: The Oshkosh Northwestern
Rob Ebert: (920) 426-6679 or

The Wisconsin State League is one of the premier semi-professional/amateur baseball leagues in the mid-west. In operation since 1970, the Wisconsin State League is a highly competitive league that features many of the midwest's top current and former collegiate athletes, as well as many former professional baseball players. Keep up to date on everything happening in the Wisconsin State League by following the league online on FacebookTwitter, and Instagram. | #WSL