CENTERVILLE — Even though the final score ended up 3-0 Monday in favor of Centerville during the district semifinal, it only took one swing of the bat to determine the outcome of the game.
Senior Ashley Arnold crushed a bomb home run to centerfield in the bottom of the fourth inning to give the Lady Elks a 1-0 lead, and that proved to be the winning run.
Little sister Hayley Arnold pitched a shutout by limiting Northmont to just two hits with three walks and 12 strikeouts.
The Lady Bolts had the bases loaded in the top of the first inning, their best chance to generate some runs.
Wirth two outs Zoey Hodge reached base on a hard ground ball to shortstop that resulted in an error as the ball ricocheted off the fielder’s glove into shallow center field.
Jabria Bickerstaff came in as a courtesy runner. Sam McGilton singled to right field with Bickerstaff racing to third and McGilton reaching second on the throw to third.
Centerville wisely pitched around freshman Jadyn Johnson giving her an intentional walk. Johnson hit .354 this year with three home runs, four doubles, a triple and 16 RBIs.
Arnold struck out Lacie Knick to end the Northmont scoring threat.
The Lady Bolts got a runner aboard via a Morgan Pendleton walk in the top of the second. Sydney Strickland reached on a bunt single in the fifth and Pendleton reached on another walk in the seventh, but that was it.
Centerville put the game away with a pair of insurance runs in the bottom of the sixth inning. Ardyn Hopf hit a leadoff triple to left and scored on a sacrifice fly by Ashley Arnold.
Ally Middleton followed with a one-out double to the right field corner. With two outs Chayse Adkins doubled down the third base line to score Middleton.
Northmont concluded its season with an 18-11 record. Centerville improved to 17-9 and advanced to face Fairfield at Mason High School.
“I’m real proud of our team and our program,” said Northmont coach Kris Mangen. “The seniors have left a great mark on our program for the future. I couldn’t ask for a better group of girls. They get along, they love each other, and they never made our jobs hard or a headache.
“The parents have been super supportive over the years. Winning or losing is one thing, but these girls are good people, good citizens and they are going to leave their mark on the world just like they left their mark on our program. I am very proud of all our players, not just our seniors,” Mangen added.
Reach Ron Nunnari at [email protected].