All she had to do was get on base, and her Clyde Fliers were going to be in the Division II regional semis.
Arndt hit a blooper to left field that scored teammate Bre Michaels and gave the Fliers a 3-2 walk-off victory over Clear Fork in the district championship game Friday at Buckeye Central High School.
With the win, the Fliers (21-7) advance to play Lima Bath or Lima Shawnee in the regional semifinals Thursday at 5 p.m. at Bucyrus.
Friday’s win marked the third time in seven years the Fliers have won a district championship, and it was the fourth time in that same span Clyde had played for a spot in the regionals.
That included a 6-2 loss to the Colts in 2009 in the district title game, one year removed from the Fliers reaching the state semifinals. Last season, Clyde fell 2-1 in eight innings to Mansfield Madison to come up one win shy of the Sweet 16. “It’s a typical game for Clear Fork,” Clyde coach Marc Marshall said. “It seems like every time we’ve played them, whoever has had the last at-bat usually won. Today was no different. I thought we grew up a lot today. We showed a lot of toughness”
The Fliers were the first to get on the board when Tara Miracle hit a shot to left field to score Montgomery and put her team up 1-0.
Clyde had a chance to increase its lead in the second, but left runners stranded on second and third when Hannah Hammons struck out looking to end the inning.
Arndt’s first hit of the game came in the third inning when she hit a single to left field. Miracle was walked to put runners on first and second with Chelsea Zerman at the plate. The senior pitcher gave herself some run support with a fly ball to center field that scored Arndt to expand the lead to 2-0.
Zerman earned the victory on the mound for Clyde, striking out one and allowing just six hits and two runs.
“We were able to keep their big bats off the bases, and we did a great job defensively,” Marshall said. “In this game and in this type of environment with stakes as high as they are, the intensity and the pressure as high as they are, to play that solid, I mean, what can you ask? You can’t ask for much more from the girls”
The Fliers loaded the bases with Maddie Young at the plate, but didn’t manage to increase the lead going into the top of the fourth.
Clyde allowed the Colts to get on board in the fourth inning when Darian Gottfried was thrown out at first to allow Montanna Walker to take home.
Both teams displayed outstanding defensive skills in the fifth and sixth innings. Neither team allowed more than three batters during that span.
Clyde was just one out from ending the game in the top of the seventh, but Clear Fork’s Micaela Fidler hit an RBI double to left to score Gottfried and tie the game at 2-2.
Michaels was walked to start the bottom of the seventh. Hammons hit a line drive to right center field to put two runners in scoring position with no outs. Montgomery was walked to load the bases, as Arndt clinched Clyde’s first district championship since 2010.
Marshall says it’s difficult to compare district champions in previous years.
“In 2008, we had a freshman pitcher. Now we have a senior pitcher who is a four-year letterman. She’s been through the battle. She knows what she has to do. We have a senior catcher who knows what we have to do”
Clear Fork 000 100 1 — 2 6 1
Clyde 101 000 1 — 3 9 0
WP: Zerman; LP: Gottfried (CF) 2B: (C) Montgomery; Hammons; (CF) Golden; Walker; Gottfried; Fidler