The Viroqua American Legion baseball team won four-straight games, the final two against rival Westby, to earn the Class A regional title last weekend.
Post 138 (36-11) is hosting this year’s Class A Legion State Tournament and plays its first game, Wednesday, against Altoona (12-9) at 8 p.m.
The regional tournament at Prairie du Chien included a day, Friday, in which a game for Viroqua was rained out. Still, Post 138 never lost the tenacity that has become a key trait of this season’s ball club. Late rallies helped Viroqua in its two victories over Westby.
“It’s always special to win the regional,” Viroqua coach Pete Swanson said. “You go into the state tournament pumped up. You hope you do well.”
In the regional, Viroqua defeated Prairie du Chien, 6-3, Wednesday, July 24; defeated Bi-State, 10-0, in five innings, Friday; defeated Westby, 8-5, Saturday; and defeated Westby, 10-9, Sunday.
When Viroqua takes the field on Wednesday night (should weather not interrupt the tournament), it will be the 18th time the Class A club has played in the state tournament — which is a state record.
Viroqua has placed second at state eight times. Post 138 has earned championships in 1991, 2004 and 2005.
This week marks the fifth time Viroqua has hosted the Class A state tournament. Other years include 1990, 1993, 1998 and 2003.
Viroqua 6, PdC 3
With a 3-1 lead going into the fourth inning, Post 138 rallied for three key runs.
With two outs Mitch Stalsberg doubled to score a run. Later, Tyler Trautsch came through with a two-RBI single.
“Prairie du Chien was fired up for this game,” Swanson said. “They were tough.”
Dustin Stalsberg pitched a four-hitter for Viroqua, striking out four and walking five.
“Dustin pitched really well and kept them under control,” Swanson said.
Leading hitters for Post 138 included Trautsch going 2-for-3 with three RBI, Mitch Stalsberg 2-for-4 with an RBI and Mason Joholski had two RBI.
Viroqua 10, Bi-State 0 (5)
Key hits by Dave Crandall, Joholski and Brandon Mickelson keyed a three-run first inning, Friday.
Viroqua scored 10 runs on 10 hits in a game that ended on the 10-run rule in the fifth inning.
Bi-State was playing good baseball at the regional, as it won two of the four games it played.
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Crandall pitched for Viroqua, striking out four and walking one while scattering six hits.
“[Crandall] kept them off balance,” Swanson said.
Joholski was 2-for-3 with two doubles. Crandall was 2-for-3 with a double and two RBI. Trautsch was 2-for-4. Mickelson, Abe Beckstrand and Tyler Gabrielson all added hits for Viroqua. Beckstrand had two RBI.
Viroqua 8, Westby 5
Mitch Stalsberg pitched a three-hitter over six innings, striking out nine and walking just three, Saturday.
Stalsberg had thrown 107 pitches in those six innings, so Swanson opted to have Trautsch come to the mound in the seventh inning in relief.
Trautsch struck out two of the final three batters, helping to get Viroqua the win.
The game was tied 5-5 going into the final inning. Mickelson, Beckstrand and Gabrielson strung together three key hits that gave Viroqua the three-run lead.
Mickelson was 3-for-3 in the game with two doubles and two RBI. Beckstrand was 2-for-4 with a double and two RBI. Zach Trautsch was 2-for-4. Tyler Trautsch doubled in the game.
Viroqua 10, Westby 9
Mitch Stalsberg hit a three-run, walk-off homer to help Viroqua to the regional title on Sunday.
At the plate, Stalsberg had a big day going 3-for-5 with five RBI.
Trailing 9-5 in the sixth inning, Crandall doubled in Zach Trautsch to close the gap to 9-6.
Viroqua brought a lot of batters to the plate in the seventh inning. Zach Trautsch had an RBI single to make it a 9-7 Westby lead. That was later followed by Mitch Stalsberg’s big homer.
“It was a see-saw game,” Swanson said. “We were ahead early. Then they had a four-run fifth inning.”
Tyler Trautsch pitched the first three innings for Viroqua. Tyler Bentz came in during the fourth inning. He struck out one and walked two and earned the pitching victory.
Westby had 13 hits to 10 hits by Viroqua. Five Westby players had two hits. Both teams had two errors.
A full bracket on the Class A State Tournament appears directly below this story.