Branden Frank took care of business on the mound. Benny Serres led the offense. And the defense played errorless ball, capping off the night with a game-ending double play.
Life was good for the Arrowhead baseball team Tuesday.
Hosting No. 12-seeded Brown Deer in a first round WIAA regional game, the fifth-seeded Warhawks turned in one of their better overall performances of the season as they blanked the Falcons, 6-0. The win marked the second straight year Arrowhead won in the first round of the WIAA tournament and the 12th time in the last 15 years.
The Warhawks (23-7) will now play at Regner Park against No. 4-seeded host West Bend West on Friday. The winner of that game will play in the sectional on July 21 at Whitefish Bay.
"I said at the start of the season that we were only going to go as far as our pitching and defense would take us," said fifth-year AHS coach Vince Mancuso. "Tonight, both of them came through. Plus, we threw in some good clutch hitting, and now we get to move on. This was a good one tonight. The guys played well."
Senior right-hander Branden Frank tossed a gem on the mound, finishing with a three-hitter. Frank, who threw 68 of 101 pitches, for strikes, struck out 10, walked three and hit a batter. The Falcons (9-16) had just two runners reach second base.
"I felt good right from the start," Frank said. "It helps a lot to get out to a 2-0 lead right away in the first inning. Plus, the defense was great. Johnny Duranso made some nice catches in left field, and the infielders turned a couple of double plays. I was happy how I threw the ball. My command was pretty good."
Offensively, Arrowhead got to Brown Deer starter Ryan Hudson for two runs and four hits in the bottom of the first inning. Duranso crushed a long double to deep center field to start the rally and he quickly scored when senior second baseman Jake Miller singled.
Serres got his three-hit, two RBI night going by following with a single, and Miller scored when senior center fielder Matt Robbins delivered a two-out single.
"Tonight, I think we just kept rolling from the way we finished the season," said Miller, a first-year baseball player for the Warhawks. "We're carrying over our momentum from the season into the playoffs. Everybody in the lineup is contributing. Up and down the lineup, we got some good hitting tonight."
AHS added a solo run in the second when Nick Flatt walked and scored on Miller's RBI single. Another run scored in the fourth when designated hitter Parker Redman singled, Flatt sacrificed Redman to second and sophomore third baseman Matt Van Gilder blooped a single down the right field line.
Arrowhead closed out the scoring with two more runs in the sixth. Flatt hit a leadoff double, moved to third when Duranso reached on the only error of the game, and both scored when Serres drilled a double.
"I'm really proud of the guys the way we came to play tonight and the way we finished the season," said Brown Deer coach Ron Hedrick. "We came here with a plan to be aggressive at the plate and we did that. We just didn't put the bat on the ball enough. I just couldn't be prouder of the guys to come in here and play a quality team like this and do such a good job."
Brown Deer right fielder Mike Weeden got two of his team's three hits. The other came from leadoff hitter Gerry Gilles. Weeden's single to left to leadoff the fifth broke up Frank's no-hit bid.
Arrowhead finished the night with 11 hits. Serres had three and Miller added a pair.
The AHS defense got a double play in the fifth inning and one to close out the game. Miller and Flatt got the front end of those two ground balls started and both made good throws to freshman first baseman Jack Becker to complete the twin-killing.
Arrowhead 6, Brown Deer 0
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