New Berlin - Overall, Mitch Arman of New Berlin Eisenhower enjoyed a strong 2012 baseball season.
He batted .413 and drove in 17 runs while posting eight victories on the mound and working eight complete games.
Arman, however, saved his best for the games that were most important to his Lions, those in the Woodland Conference. In Woodland play, he raised his average to .512 and compiled a 6-1 record and a stingy 2.15 ERA.
"He was lights-out in the conference," said first-year head coach Aaron Adsit. "He carried us in the Woodland."
Arman certainly played a major role in Eisenhower's surge to the Woodland Black Division championship. The Lions won their final nine conference games to finish 13-4 and claim the crown by one game over Wauwatosa West.
"I have to thank the coaches for giving me the opportunities (in the conference)," Arman said. "Also, my teammates gave me support. I received text messages from them before each of my (pitching) starts, wishing me well. I strive for the big games, and I want the ball in my hand in those. I like having the responsibility."
For his fine performances at bat and on the mound, especially down the stretch, Arman was voted onto the 2012 NOW Newspapers All-Suburban Team at a utility spot.
The junior was also chosen as the player of the year in the Woodland Black Division, as well as first-team all-conference, along with teammate Kurt Hegeman.
"Mitch was certainly a central figure for us," Adsit said. "He was a leader on the field and in the dugout. You couldn't ask for a better kid. The key was that he didn't try to do too much. He knew just what he could do, and he did it."
The Lions began the season with just one player who had significant varsity experience, Hegeman. They predictably started a bit slowly, holding at 4-4 in the conference midway through the campaign.
"We had a young team, and we had some adversity to overcome," Arman said. "We hit a rough spell, but then we started coming together. We started jelling. We were hanging out with each other, even off the field, talking baseball. We just wanted to do what we could do every day and start playing good ball."
The key was a two-game sweep of early division leader Greendale, in which the Lions tallied 21 runs, in late June.
"We got the guys together and said, this is the time," recalled Arman. "We will find out if we are a contender or pretender. We wanted everybody to be relaxed and do their best."
That sweep ignited the nine-game run that culminated in Eisenhower's division crown.
"He was so important to us at the end of the year," Adsit said. "He was a big-time contributor."
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