LA CROSSE, Wis. (WKBT) - For the first time since 2012, and third time in program history, UW-La Crosse is headed to the NCAA Tournament.
They found out early Monday morning that they're the four-seed in the Whitewater regional and open up against Concordia-Chicago Wednesday at six.
"[Coach] sent us a text at like two in the morning," junior pitcher Ben Cejka said. "I was already up, but I was just like, finally, we're in!"
"It just feels great," said sophomore outfielder Taylor Kohlwey.
Kohlwey and Cjeka are both former Holmen Vikings.
"We try and find those players in the area that are good," said Eagles Head Baseball Coach Chris Schwarz.
This year, as sophomores and juniors, they've taken the next step and are great.
"Ben has emerged as the leader of our pitching staff and he's only a junior and Taylor quietly emerging as one of the best hitters in the country," Schwarz said.
"Me and Taylor have grown up together playing little league and stuff. Now that we finally get to show it on the big stage," Cejka said, "it's awesome."
"It's kind of cool, coming from the same town, doing big things, Kohlwey said. "Hopefully we can keep it going."
To do so, UW-L will have to beat UW-Whitewater. The Warhawks have given them fits this year, including knocking the Eagles out of the WIAC Championship.
"It will be a hurdle," Schwarz said. "They're obviously beatable, we've proven that."
"We can do it, definitely," said Kohlwey.
"We'll figure out a way to finally get them two in a row so we can get out of the regional and hopefully make it to the World Series," said Cejka.