West Salem’s taste for state gold

Every team has their superstition. In West Salem, it’s a sloppy one.

“Just kind of taste like wood. But it feels really good feeling licking it because then you did something right this season,” senior Braxton Ghelfi said.

Every trophy the Panthers baseball team wins, they lick.

“I usually go for the back so it’s a real woody taste. The medal gives a really gross taste, I found that out last year,” senior Alex Jeranek said.

“I mean, you’ll get a little bit of a teammates saliva with it. But that’s about it, really nothing,” senior Trevor Kastenschmidt said.

No one knows exactly when it started.

“The licking of the trophy kind of came from 4 or 5 years ago they started it,” Jeranek said.

“Started like my sophomore year. I don’t remember the reason why. But one of us starting licking it,” Ghelfi said.

“I think it was with my brother,” Kastenschmidt said.

But they do know, don’t be last getting your hands on the plaque.

“One of the last kids like to go right up the middle through everything. So just before that in the order,” Kastenschmidt said.

West Salem has one more chance this season to spread the saliva. The Panthers run to a state title begins against Beloit Turner in the Division 2 state semifinals.

“This year we just have to go in with that calm feeling. We’ve been there before. Don’t let the lights get to us, just play our game when we get there,” Ghelfi said.

“You can’t think of it like a huge game compared to every other game. You just have to go out there and do what you do,” Jeranek said.

And with two more wins this spring, West Salem will get the sweetest taste of victory.

“Probably taste amazing. Probably the best taste you’ll ever taste,” Jeranek said.

“Probably better than a regional or sectional. Hopefully we can bring it back for everyone,” Kastenschmidt said.