Arndt leads Lady Lions to sectional title, 6-1

Kaelyn Shively steals home off an error Saturday morning during sectionals to extend Bremen’s lead to 4-1.Shannon Arndt (front) and Erin Coffel (back) runs toward the dugout after striking out the last batter to seal the sectional title for the Lady Lions Saturday afternoon.Bremen clinched the sectional title Saturday morning at Westview in a 6-1 victory. Front Row (Left): Hannah Rowe, Erin Coffel, Shannon Arndt, Paige Lacher, Carly Snyder; Middle Row: Coach Tabby Teall, McKenna Myers, Sarah Knepper, Rylee Hershberger, Destaney Achterberg, Ahsley Jeffirs; Third Row: Coach Bri Kertai, Bailey Fritter, Tori Orr, Caitlin Myers, Kaelyn Shively Dellenira Duran, Wendy Nava; Back Row: Coach Jon Hershberger, Head Coach Mike Huppert and Coach Dean Huppert
Whitney Worthen
Assistant Sports Editor

It was a big day for the Lady Lions, but amongst the celebrations, cheering and dumping of water, the moment probably didn’t mean as much to the group as it did senior pitcher Shannon Arndt.

Arndt led the Lady Lions back to their sectional title with a 6-1 victory over Westview Saturday morning at Westview. The senior struck out seven batters and gave up only one walk, one unearned run and six hits over seven innings.

“As our senior, she’s our leader,” said Bremen head coach Mike Huppert. “She’s our only senior. She picked the girls up. They picked her up when she needed. Picked her up on the hits, and just a fantastic feeling for her I’m sure.”

And after waiting three years to get her chance in the circle, the moment was in fact “a fantastic feeling” for the pitcher.

“It’s an amazing feeling,” said Arndt. “I’ve been waiting to feel this for four years. I mean I really enjoyed it, and I really hope we can keep going and moving forward from here.”

However, as a pitcher, a lot of pressure rested upon her shoulders. The crowd watches as the pitcher grows nervous or perhaps frustrated. All their eyes upon the circle before every bat. The amount of walks one throws can make or break a game.

Arndt did her job though. She remained calm and pitched like the sectional champion she was soon to become.

“Yup,” agreed Arndt to the amount of pressure in the circle. “I just tried to stay calm for my team, and I was trying to be a leader out there for them. I was just taking it one pitch at a time.”

Behind every great pitcher though is a great defense.

Arndt gave up only one walk of the night which in some games, walks are what cost the game. With the lack of walks, Arndt was able to trust her defense to do their job and really close out the game especially in the seventh inning. Arndt struck one out and tagged a runner heading to first for the first two outs in the seventh, and her defense sealed the game with a fly out to the outfield.

“I was just telling myself to take it just one pitch at a time,” said Arndt about the seventh inning, “and I know my defense is there to back me up. We just got to make our defense work for the last the last three outs.”

“Absolutely,” said Huppert about Arndt’s instrumental role in the game. “They ended up with six hits, we had 10. She had seven strikeouts in there and one walk. I mean pitching defense if you don’t walk anybody, you can defend, and when the ground ball is there, you can defend. If its a fly ball, you can defend, but you can’t defend a walk…I can’t say enough about Shannon.”

But it wasn’t just the lack of walks that saved the Lady Lions. In the top of the fourth, Westview’s Hayley Courtney hit a two-out double to get the Lady Warriors going. After Courtney, Arndt gave up her walk to put Zoe Williams on first, and then Megan Shrock found base on an error by Bailey Fritter.

Fritter however recovered the ball and blasted it to Sara Knepper on third as Williams sprint from second. The ball beat Williams by seconds, and Knepper easily tagged her out. However, during the play, Courtney crossed home for an unearned run.

“She let her defense work when she needed to,” said Huppert. “When we got them on second and first that one inning, we got out of it.”

A rough inning however seemed to jump start the Lady Lions in their rally. Bremen was playing unlike it had all game after the hits began in the fourth. Though, they were up 2-1 in the fifth, the Lady Lions had a big sixth inning to just knock the Lady Warriors on their heels.

Kaelyn Shively hit a single on the lead off to find base. Carly Snyder sac bunted to push Shively to second. Destiny Achterberg reached first on a walk while Caitlin Myers bunted to load the bases. Then, Bremen had probably on of its best plays all year.

Rylee Hershberger fouled off her first pitch, and Westview’s Tori Antal hustled to the fence line for the catch. While she regained her balance, Shively headed home on the steal as second and first base advanced as well. Antal overthrew home for the error, and Achertberg rounded third and sprinted home for the 4-1 lead.

Moments later, Erin Coffel smacked one out of the park for a 2 RBI homer and extending the lead 6-1.

“I think we are so use to faster pitching, and she’s a little slower,” said captain Bailey Fritter about why the hits came in so late. “They were calling outsides, and that’s what we struggle with. So we just need to work on the outside pitches more and watch the ball basically. We’re not watching it all the way.”

“He just out on the mound and just told us to relax,” said captain Sara Knepper about the sixth inning. “Then honestly, we just came into the huddle and said this is our time, and that’s when we started scoring.”

“Just hits,” said Huppert about what turned the game. “We got hits, we got on base, we sacrificed when we needed to, we bunted when we needed to. We did the Bremen softball the way we know how to play the game. We got timely hits. When we got the rally going, we had two outs.”

Now, the Lady Lions are headed to regionals to face South Adams at South Adams Tuesday night. The Lady Stars will be a tough battle for Bremen as the home team sits at 19-2 on the season, but Bremen is taking it one game at a time and play 21 outs. If it takes them to state, the Lady Lions will be happy, but if they don’t, they at least had fun playing what they love to play — softball.

“I think we just got to keep our confidence up,” said Knepper about regionals, “and focus on hitting the ball and making the routine plays.”

“No,” said Huppert about nerves for regionals. “We can take a day and work on it on Monday. We’ll have plenty of time to relax. We can go over there and have fun. I mean I’m not saying we’re going over there to get beat. I’m not saying we’re going over there to not try. We’re going over there to try our hardest. We’re going to try out hardest. I’m going to have the girls fired up for it, but I think the pressure is going to be on the home team not on us. You know, it was pressure over here today too — home team. We’re going to go there. We’re going to go on a long bus ride, but guess what we’re going to go, we’re going to give it all and we’re going to play 21 outs.”

At Emma
WV: 000 100 0 — 1 6 2
B: 000 024 X — 6 9 2
Shannon Arndt (W), Andrea Stoltzfus (L)
2B: Erin Coffel (B), Bailey Fritter (B), Hayley Courtney (W)
HR: Coffel (B)