SEFFNER — Armwood was far from top form Tuesday.
The Hawks booted four balls, hit two batters, had three baserunners picked off and if that wasn't enough, starter Zack Powers was under the weather.
"We had to work through it today," coach Mike Wrenn said.
And that's just what the Hawks (23-5) did, exploding for four runs in the first inning to defeat visiting Central 8-5 in the 5A region quarterfinals.
"Zack really battled tonight," Wrenn said. "We got the momentum early and ran with it."
Central, which reached the postseason for the first time since 2002, featured five sophomores in the starting lineup. And the young Bears found the four-run deficit too much to overcome.
"We've been waiting seven years to make the playoffs and then the next thing you know we're down 4-0," Central coach Mike Ellison said. "I think they panicked a little, but we battled back and I'm proud of them for that."
With the bases loaded in the first, Kristian Calibuso tripled deep into the rightfield corner. The relay throw to third skipped to the fence and Calibuso hustled home for the 4-0 lead.
Josh Spano (3-for-3, HR, 3B) extended the Hawks' lead to 6-1 with a home run to left-centerfield and finished a double short of the cycle.
"I started the year slow but I've been getting hot lately," Spano said. "The ball looked big tonight."
Powers went six innings to pick up the win, giving up one earned run, fanning eight and surrendering just four singles. Central (10-10) battled back in the seventh, scoring three unearned runs to trim the lead to three. But reliever Jake Spano got the final out on a popup with the tying run on deck.
Tanner Emmons had three hits for the Hawks and teammate Billy Farrell went 2-for-3 with a stolen base. Mike Ogren had a pair of hits and scored twice for Central.