Arrowhead's Serres dominant at the plate
Diminutive leader key cog for team battling for first place
By Chuck Delsman
Posted: July 7, 2014
At 5 feet, 8 inches and 170 pounds,
Arrowhead's Benny Serres doesn't have the dream body of your classic baseball
hitter. Add to that average speed, and you have the combination which usually
results in some pretty average numbers.
But Serres is not an average high school
baseball player. Far from it. The guy can hit a baseball as well as any high
school player in the area and in the state. His numbers back it up.
Last year, as a junior and a first-time
member of the Arrowhead varsity, Serres surprised just about everyone on the
AHS staff and throughout the Classic 8 Conference. The senior left-handed
hitter went 2 for 3 in his first game and never quit producing. He finished the
season with a brilliant mark of .441, striking out just twice in 107 plate appearances.
Serres was so impressive at the plate that
he almost won the Player of the Year award in the Classic 8, falling just a few
votes short. That's pretty good for a guy that none of the league coaches even
knew existed prior to the start of the season.
Now, almost six weeks into his final year,
every conference coach know about Serres, and they're trying to figure ways to
get him out. The right fielder is still pounding the ball. Going into last
week's games, the Concordia University recruit was hitting a hefty .475. He's
already had one four-hit game and two three-hit games.
"Benny is a throw-back, old-school
type of baseball player," said Arrowhead coach Vince Mancuso, who had a
Hall of Fame career as a hitter at the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh. "He
comes to the park every day 100 percent ready to play. He's mentally into the
game all the time. Benny is an outstanding hitter, but he also can play
defense. He'd run through a wall to catch a fly ball."
Serres has started every game the last two
years, but he wasn't scheduled to be a starter last year when the 2013 summer
After playing with the freshman team his
first year and with the junior varsity as a sophomore, Serres was penciled in
to be a reserve last year, maybe occasionally serving as designated hitter. But
that suddenly changed when the scheduled starter, Alex Romenesko, came down
with an injury.
"The guy that was supposed to play in
front of me got hurt, and coach put me in to start," Serres said. "I
went 2 for 3 that day and stayed in the lineup the rest of the year. I was very
happy how the season went. I thought I hit the ball well all year."
Lots of hard work
Unlike a lot of other kids who have played
at high youth levels and have had hitting lessons from one if not two instructors,
Serres did things his own way. He stayed true
to his home town of Merton, playing for the locally based Mavericks. He was
recruited by several coaches to join the Hartland Hawks program but stayed in
"I was on the first
Merton Mavericks U9 select team and stayed in the program until I got to high
school," Serres said. "Some Hartland coaches tried to get me to come
over there and play, but I wanted to stay with my friends. That meant a lot to
me. I started as a Maverick and finished as a Maverick."
Not only did he stay in town to play with
his buddies, but he also taught himself to hit. He worked out at Stiks Academy
in Oconomowoc and visited the batting cages regularly.
"I did a lot of my own stuff in the
cages," the always-smiling Serres said. "I challenged myself every
time I went to the cage. I would turn up the speed so it was a little faster
every time. I worked on my hands a lot. I wanted to get my hands as fast as I
All of that discipline and hard work has
apparently paid off. He'll play college baseball next year at Concordia in
Mequon, where former AHS standout Mitch Dubnicka is a junior in the Concordia
"Benny will be just fine in
college," Mancuso said. "He has succeeded at every level he's played
at. Nobody is going to outwork him. He's not only an excellent hitter but a
very good outfielder. He'll do anything to make the catch. Plus, he's always
positive. He's great with his teammates and you can't tell by looking at Benny
if we're ahead 20-2 or down 20-2. He's always in the game. He's a great guy to
have on the team."