Valerie Buroker

Viroqua’s Valerie Buroker saves an errant throw as Westby’s Kay Frydenlund steals third in an early-May game.

The Viroqua girls softball team hit the road and faced off against the top two teams in the Coulee Conference last week, coming up on the short end of the scoreboard in both games as they prepare for the WIAA playoffs.

Viroqua vs. G-E-T

The Blackhawks began the week with a 4-1 loss at second-place Gale-Ettrick-Trempealeau (6-4 Coulee and 9-8 overall), Tuesday, May 16.

VHS scored their lone run in the second inning on a double by Crystal Noble, followed by a successful double steal. G-E-T grabbed a 2-1 advantage on a two-run double by Amy Gappa in the third and put the game out of reach with a two-run home run by Haley Bardseth in the sixth.

Viroqua outhit G-E-T by a 6-4 margin and played error-free defense, but failed to come up with hits at the right time to cash in on the scoreboard. Valerie Buroker and Noble each doubled in the losing effort. Natalie Waldenberger took the loss on the mound, striking out five and walking the same.

Viroqua vs. Onalaska Luther

Just two days later, the Blackhawks gave Coulee Conference champion Onalaska Luther all they could handle in a heart-breaking 5-4 loss.

The Luther Knights took advantage of three errors by the Blackhawks in the bottom of the first inning to grab a 2-0 lead. Waldenberger kept it that way until the sixth when the Blackhawks batted around, scoring four runs to take a 4-1 lead, only to see the Knights come back with two runs in the bottom of the inning to secure the win and sew up the conference championship, their third-straight Coulee title.

Madysen Zitzner opened the sixth inning uprising with a lead-off double and scored on a two-run home run by Waldenberger, tying the score at 2-2. Then after the next two batters were retired, Noble doubled, Marie Fergot walked and Olivia Thew reached on an error, scoring Noble. With two outs, Claire Anderson drilled a single to left, scoring Fergot to give the Hawks a 4-2 lead, but Luther rallied to score twice on three hits and a walk to take the lead at 5-4. The Blackhawks ended the game with runners at second and third in their final at bat in the seventh.

Zitzner 2-for-4 (2b), Waldenberger 2-for-3- (2b, HR, 2 RBI) and Noble 2-for-3 (2b) led the VHS seven-hit offense. The Blackhawks ended the regular season in fourth place in the Coulee Converence with a 4-6 record and are 9-6 in all games, as they embark into the WIAA regionals, playing Dodgeville (10-9 overall and 8-2 in the Southwest Conference), Wednesday, May 24.

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Angie Cina is editor of the Vernon County Broadcaster. Contact her at 608-637-5616.

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