VIROQUA — The Viroqua High School baseball team is a WIAA regional champion for the first time in five years, and it received a complete effort to make it happen.
The Blackhawks, who clipped Westby by one game to win the Coulee Conference championship this spring, beat the Norsemen 9-4 in a Division 3 regional final Wednesday to earn a spot in sectional for the first time since going to the Division 2 state tournament in 2014.
Viroqua (24-4) won its 18th game in a row and beat Westby for a second time after the two split games during the regular season.
Viroqua, ranked fifth in Division 3 by state coaches, will play second-ranked Prairie du Chien (18-2) in the first of two semifinals at the Brodhead Sectional on Tuesday.
Viroqua and Prairie du Chien will start their game at 10 a.m. The second semifinal is between Lakeside Lutheran and sixth-ranked Markesan at 1 p.m., and the championship game follows at 4 p.m.
The Blackhawks had eight players with at least one hit against Westby’s Hunter Ward and Mason Quellhorst and pulled away with four runs in the bottom of the second inning.
Pitcher and center fielder Hunter Vikemyr, first baseman Ryan Zemla and third baseman Tate Knutson all had two hits for Viroqua, which scored seven unearned runs on five Westby errors.
The Norsemen (14-10), who beat Viroqua 2-1 early in the season, had two runs in the top of the fourth to get within 5-2, but the Blackhawks answered with two more runs in the bottom of the fourth.
Catcher Gunnar Hansen and shortstop Nolan Rux had two hits apiece for Westby, and Rux and Kenny Berg each had an RBI.
Vikemyr hit a home run, doubled and drove in four runs in addition to pitching six innings for the Blackhawks. Vikemyr gave up two earned runs on five hits while striking out 12, walking one batter and hitting another.