Arrowhead Baseball Wins State

January 11, 2010
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Arrowhead’s 2009 baseball team won a state championship for the first time in 30 years last summer, giving Arrowhead sports an unprecedented six state titles in 2009.

As the school bells rang for the last time, baseball was just getting a long summer underway. Ranked in the top five in the state all year long, the Warhawks not only set the record for conference victories, but they also went a perfect 21-0.
Numerous players were rewarded for their extraordinary play, with six players making the first team all-conference list. Andrew Bauer, who will play baseball at UW-Whitewater along with fellow first team infielder Chris Pendergast, attained Classic Eight Player of the Year. Pitchers Jordan Paszek and Justin Mortenson both made first team all-conference along with first baseman Brian Crook and centerfielder Josh Henkel.
Coach Tim O’Driscoll never went undefeated in conference in thirty years of coaching Arrowhead until 2009. I've been coaching a long time but we've never had a team with chemistry like this,” he said to the Lake Country Reporter. “I don't know if this is the best team we've ever had or not. That's not to be decided today.”
That would be decided in the upcoming tournament, where the Warhawks drew a number one seed in a tough sectional. Arrowhead lost to three different teams in the sectional before the post-season started in non conference games. But O’Driscoll’s team would not lose to any of them the second time around, as they advanced to the state tournament after three victories.
The highlight of the sectional tournament came in the semi-final, when senior catcher Karl Sprung hit a walk-off home run in the bottom of the tenth inning against talented Menominee Falls. "You dream about hitting a walk-off homer like that to win a game," Sprung said to the Lake Country Reporter after going a perfect 5-5. While the sectional tournament certainly had drama, that was nothing compared to what was soon to come at State.
In the opening round of the eight team tournament, the Warhawks drew a West Bend West team with a 26-5 record. In front of the largest crowd in State Tournament history, Arrowhead quickly fell behind by three runs in the top of the first inning. However, in the bottom of the fourth a two out rally tied the game at three.
That was all the scoring until the final regulation inning, the seventh, when West Bend added a run to take the lead. In the bottom half of the inning, with the Warhawks an out away from elimination, a Matt Mayoras single tied the game and sent it to extras.
From there Brian Crook took over the game, hitting a walk off bomb in the bottom of the eight. “In my bones, I swear to God I thought Brian was going to hit one out,” O’Driscoll said to the Lake Country Reporter. “I thought he was due.”
Crook, who attained first team all-state after the season, believed his coach. “He’s a great coach, so if he said he knew it, he probably did,” Crook said to the Lake Country Reporter.
The state semi finals against Muskego didn’t have quite the drama the previous games did, but for David Miller it was just as sweet. The senior outfielder had missed much of the season due to a leg injury sustained just before the year started and had to sit out. His first game back was in the regular season finale, also against Muskego.
Miller stepped up in the fourth inning with the bases loaded and hammered a grand slam deep to center field, capping his tough senior year with a sweet ending. The four runs ended up being huge in the high scoring 14-10 victory that propelled Arrowhead into the state finals.
Facing last year’s state champion Marquette, ace senior pitcher Andrew Bauer got the call to start the state title game. Bauer, who ended up missing player of the year in the state by one vote, had an earned run average under one entering the game.
After four tense innings the game was tied at one a piece, but Bauer was done on the mound due to using his maximum number of innings in the tournament. He went four strong innings with only an unearned run allowed. However, the offense for Arrowhead was also having a tough time and had just one run of their own.
Junior Matt Burke came in to pitch, and gave up no runs in his first two innings of work. Still Arrowhead’s offense couldn’t tack on another run, so the game remained tied going into the seventh and final inning.
The top half of the inning started with a leadoff single. Marquette tried bunting him over, but Burke threw the ball away, putting the go ahead runs on second and third base with nobody out. A fly out to left got Arrowhead the first out, but also gave Marquette the lead. Another fly out gave Arrowhead hope of getting out of the frame with just one run allowed, but Marquette’s Nolan Peterson ripped a liner over the wall to give Marquette a 4-1 lead going into the bottom of the inning.
Arrowhead showed patience right off the bat facing elimination when senior Matt Mayoras led off with a walk. Senior Josh Henkel then got hit to put runners on first and second. Control problems continued for Marquette with another walk to David Miller, loading the bases with nobody out. The Warhawks had the winning run at the plate with nobody out, but Chris Pendergast struck out looking for out number one of the inning. Andrew Bauer hit a ground ball up the middle that could have ended the game, but a bobbled ball at second base allowed all runners to be safe.
Now down by two runs, Crook sent a single into left field for two runs that tied the game. Catcher Karl Sprung then went up with one out and a runner on third. On a full count pitch Sprung ended the season in style with a walk off hit up the middle. The incredible rally gave Arrowhead their first baseball title in 30 years.
“I’m just stunned right now,” O’Driscoll said to the Lake Country Reporter after the game. “You don’t know how hard it is to win a state championship.”
The list of accomplishments for the season is a long one: no team in Arrowhead history won as many games overall or in conference play. Two players made first team all state, and Tim O’Driscoll was awarded coach of the year in the state.

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