VIROQUA, Wis. -

Viroqua admits the team struggled down the final stretch of the regular season.

After clinching the Coulee Conference championship, the Blackhawks lost three of their final five games. Not the way most teams envision heading into the most important part of their season.

But four playoff wins later, including two shutouts, Viroqua has qualified for their first WIAA state appearance since 1985. The program has a pair of runner-up finishes in it's prior two trips to state.

"We feel we have a really good shot to win," said senior Dustin Stalsberg. "Obviously not trying to overlook any teams but we feel this is our year to finally do it."

It's a roster full of seniors, seven to be exact. All of them major contributors on the team.

"Good group of guys, really old, lot of experience, playing together forever," said senior Dalten Tryggestad. "We're all just really good friends."

Making it to state was something this group has had their eyes on for a while. Last year's hopes were dashed in the sectional semifinal round after a loss to Ellsworth.

This year it was Viroqua who ended Ellsworth's season at sectionals, a win that has given this team a lot of confidence according to senior Mitchell Stalsberg.

"For all of us, that was a big game and it was great for all of us to beat them."

Viroqua will face Ripon Wednesday at approximately 8:30 p.m. in the WIAA Division 2 state baseball semifinal. Winner advances to Thursday's championship game to be played at 3:05 p.m.