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West Salem baseball team Division 3 state champs

West Salem senior Jake Whitbeck, shown scoring a run during last season's WIAA Division 2 state baseball tournament, had six hits during a doubleheader sweep of Westby on Tuesday. The Panthers have won a share of the Coulee Conference title and can win it outright by by beating G-E-T on Thursday.

The Coulee Conference baseball championship, a share of it anyway, is on the line Thursday with the big game matching up first-place West Salem with Gale-Ettrick-Trempealeau for a 6:30 p.m. matchup in Galesville.

The Panthers (9-2), who won last season's WIAA Division 2 state championship, have already clinched a share of the Coulee title after sweeping Westby in a doubleheader on Tuesday night.

The Red Hawks (8-3) are tied with Viroqua (8-3) for second place and beat West Salem 4-3 when a run in the top of the seventh inning allowed them to hold off a two-run bottom of the seventh by the Panthers. G-E-T had just two hits in that game and enters after a doubleheader split with Viroqua on Tuesday.

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Ryan Beirne mug

Beirne

The Blackhawks (14-5 overall), who have won 12 of their last 13 games, close out the conference season at Onalaska Luther on Thursday. They need a win and a victory by the Red Hawks to get a share of the championship.

The Panthers swept Westby by identical scores of 5-4 on Tuesday and have a hot hitter in senior Jake Whitbeck, who was 6-for-6 with a pair of doubles during the wins over Westby.

Senior Ryan Beirne won the first game against the Norsemen with a double and doubled again while pitching a complete game in Game 2.

Both Whitbeck and Beirne played key roles in West Salem winning last season's state title.

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Assistant Sports Editor

Todd Sommerfeldt has covered sports for the La Crosse Tribune since 2003 after doing the same previously in the Fox Cities and Rock County.