Since 1982, only one team has won back-to-back state titles, St. Mark’s, which accomplished the feat three times since 2003.
State champion Cape Henlopen’s goal is to keep its title. While it’s always going to be an uphill battle, past the midpoint of the season the Vikings have given themselves a good chance at repeating. Through 10 games, Cape stands at 7-3 on the season boasting a 6-1 mark against the Henlopen Conference.
The Vikings opened the season with five straight road games, earning wins over Laurel, Lake Forest and Smyrna while losing to Salesianum and Milford by a combined three runs.
Since then, Cape has won four of five heading before the spring break. First, they rallied off three straight victories, knocking off Middletown, Sussex Central and Indian River. After a tough loss to the still undefeated Appoquinimink Jaguars, Cape got back into the win column last week with a dominating 15-1 win over Woodbridge.
Now hitting the home stretch, the team is starting to come together. Players who may not have seen much time on last year’s title team are beginning to fall into their roles.
“We have nine returners from last year’s team, so we’re bringing back quite a bit of experience,” said Cape Henlopen head coach Ben Evick. “Obviously these guys weren’t starters, but were a part of it and they know what it takes to be successful.”
Over the spring break, Cape’s program made a trip to Hawaii, a pilgrimage the team made for the first time back in 2014. Like they did five years ago, the Vikings matched up against Waimea High School and a scrimmage play day with Kapaa and Kauai High Schools.
They’ll have some stiff challenges ahead.
Five of Cape’s remaining seven opponents have winning marks; Caesar Rodney, Dover, Sussex Tech, Delmar and St. Mark’s are a combined 36-9 on the season. Cape believes they’re hitting their stride and are prepared for some of the best in and out of conference.
“They’ve been part of state tournament teams every year and they have the desire to continue the winning tradition that we’ve established,” Evick said.
The Vikings return to in-state play Tuesday, April 30 when they host Caesar Rodney at 4:15