HARTLAND - It was the best day for baseball in southeast Wisconsin in 2018, and it was a good day to be the Arrowhead Warhawks.
Arrowhead claimed a 4-1 win over Classic 8 rival Oconomowoc at O’Driscoll Field on Monday. The win pushes the Warhawks into third place in the Classic 8 and snapped the Raccoons' four-game win streak.
“For us it’s a rivalry game, since we moved back to spring,” said Arrowhead head coach Nick Brengosz. “It was good atmosphere for a baseball game, and they are very well-coached.”
Senior Jacob Johnson got the start on the mound for the Warhawks, and faced a determined Raccoon batting order.
Johnson found himself with the bases loaded with one out in the first inning after giving up two base hits and a walk. Johnson would retire the side by striking out the next two batters. Johnson would finish with the game with four strikeouts.
“He wasn’t in our top two when we started the season,” Brengosz said of Johnson. “He doesn’t get a lot of pitches, and he found himself in some tough spots out there. Luckily, our defense stepped up.”
In the top of the fifth, Johnson walked his first two batters, leading Brengosz to call a meeting at the mound. Brengosz opted to stay with Johnson, who then struck out Racoon Nathan Patterson. The Warhawks defense took care of the next two batters to retire the side.
“Our defense was doing a great job, so I decided to give Jacob a chance to finish the inning. He came through,” said Brengosz.
The Warhawks got on the board in the bottom of the first. Luke Schraufnagel singled to left, and then stole second. Nick Wohlfiel grounded to short, but an errant throw by Oconomowoc’s Nick Brazelton allowed Schraufnagel to advance from third to score. Errors would be a thorn in the Raccoon’s side, as they finished the game with three.
The Raccons would respond in the top of the third, when Gavin Daniel doubled, advanced on a wild pitch, and then scored when Miller Wallace singled. But the Warhawks took control in the bottom of the inning. Once again, errors would make the difference. Chandler Pulvermacher grounded to third and reached on Wallace’s throwing error.
Luke Dubnicka would lay down a sacrifice bunt to advance Pulvermacher to second. The Warhawks would rely on small ball throughout the game, laying down three sac bunts in total.
“We do that a lot in big games, especially early on,” said Brengosz. “It throws off the fielder’s rhythm, and it keeps them on their toes.”
Schraufnagel grounded to short, and Brazelton tried to throw to third to get Pulvermacher, but the throw was off the mark, putting runners on the corners. Senior Jeff Holtz then doubled to left, a hit that just escaped the glove of the diving Daniel. Both Pulvermacher and Schraufnagel would score on the play. Holtz, an Indiana recruit, would notch another RBI with a single scoring Dubnicka.
Derek Polczynski took the mound for the final two innings. The senior would retire both innings in 1-2-3 fashion in 14 pitches total for the save.
“We got a good start out of Jacob, and our defense was stellar all year,” said Polczynski. “ I was glad to finish things up.”
The Warhawks are now 6-2 overall and 3-1 in Classic 8 play. They do not have time to cherish the victory. They face the Raccoons in a rematch Tuesday at Occonomowoc. They play Slinger Wednesday and finish the week with double header against conference leader Catholic Memorial on Saturday.