The DeForest prep baseball program has a strong winning tradition, but the Norskies have not had many players go on to play at the NCAA Division 1 level.
The Norskies currently have one former player playing at the highest collegiate level. 2016 DAHS grad Logan Michaels is a catcher at the University of Virginia.
At a signing held at GRB Baseball Academy last Friday, DeForest added two more players to the short list, as seniors Keagon Kaufmann and Justin Hausser signed their letters of intent to play baseball at UW-Milwaukee.
“I’m feeling really excited,” Kaufmann said. “I committed last winter, and I have been waiting to make it official that I’m a Panther. The whole journey from when I started to play baseball until now has been amazing. I feel blessed.”
Hausser was also very excited about the opportunity.
“This is a dream come true,” Hausser said. “Ever since I was in the sixth grade when we drove by the Milwaukee campus and I thought it would be cool to play baseball there, this has been the place I wanted to be.”
Hausser gave a verbal commitment to the Panthers early in 2019.
“I went to a camp at Milwaukee and loved the coaches,” Hausser said. “Loving the coaches is a huge thing for me. That is what makes or breaks a baseball team. I also love their new field.”
Kaufmann gave his verbal commitment in December of 2019.
“Justin committed before me and one of the coaches was teasing him about me being his roommate,” Kaufmann said. “They then gave me an offer and it was a great fit for me.”
Hausser and Kaufmann are excited to keep playing together at the next level.
“Justin came in as a freshman and we have been good friends ever since,” Kaufmann said. “Being able to go to the next level with him is a great opportunity.”
“The freshman experience can be tough, so having a friend with me will be very nice,” Hausser said.
The Panthers recruited Kaufmann as a pitcher.
“They are looking for me to be ready to go once I get my opportunity,” Kaufmann said. “I will just show what I got and keep trying to get better.
Hausser is expected to play first base for UW-Milwaukee.
“People have always said I have good hands and a short swing,” Hausser said.
Hausser and Kaufmann were both key contributors to the Norskies as sophomores. Hausser was named second-team all-conference, while Kaufmann as an honorable mention pick.
DeForest was expecting a special season in the spring of 2020 with the return of Hausser and Kaufmann, but the COVID-19 pandemic wiped out the season.
“I’m happy I was able to get my commitment out of the way before we didn’t have a season,” Kaufmann said. “Not being able to play would have made it tough to get seen by coaches.”
Hausser took the opportunity of not having a junior season to slim down and prepare his body for college.
“When I was stuck at home during COVID, I might as well eat well,” Hausser said. “I dropped 50 pounds and then put 20 of it back on in good muscle.”
The Norski duo is hopeful they will get a chance to play one final season of high school baseball in the spring.
“We are going to be good if we get a chance to play,” Hausser said. “I just hope that my sophomore year is not the last time I get to play in a DeForest uniform. I’m excited to get to Milwaukee, but I still want one more year at DeForest.”
Kaufmann and Hausser are hopeful their signings at the Division 1 level is just the start of a something special for DeForest baseball.
“There are a lot of DeForest kids who come to GRB and it is nice for the youth kids to have a goal to shoot for,” Hausser said. “We may be some of the first to play Division 1 baseball, but we will not be the last.”