By allowing ads to appear on this site, you support the local businesses who, in turn, support great journalism.
Because of her persistence, Arnold is now the Warriors ace
Cal State Stanislaus senior Jennifer Arnold has found herself doing something she loves — and that’s pitching more often. - photo by Photo Contributed
After high school, Jennifer Arnold was faced with an unwanted dilemma.
Her dream of playing college softball came to life after Cal State Stanislaus coach Jan Schefkowitz gave her the opportunity. But there was a catch: Arnold was not initially thought of as a pitcher.
But she stuck with it.
She started her college career as a first baseman and hitting specialist, but her role eventually morphed into a full-time gig in the circle four seasons later. Now, she’s the go-to pitcher for a Warriors team that is still bummed out about how last season ended, finishing short of a national tournament appearance.
Arnold is satisfied with her status.
“Starting out I was told I wasn’t going to be pitching my freshman year,” she said. “Being a senior and knowing that I kind of have to be a leader on the field, my outlook is, hopefully, to get the job done.”
She did a lot of that last season, earning All-Region and California Collegiate Athletic Association team honors as a pitcher and first baseman after posting a 13-9 record with a 2.54 ERA while boasting a .324 batting average with seven homeruns and driving in 34 runs.
Her senior year started with a loss, however. She allowed 13 hits, struck out only four batters and walked four in seven innings of action against Academy of Art in the Warriors’ first game of a doubleheader on Wednesday. In the nightcap, though, she went 2-for-6 with a homer. It’s still early in the season.
She’ll have plenty of chances to display her abilities at this weekend’s Mizuno Best of the West Invitational at Pedretti Park. The Warriors continue play at 1 p.m. today against Chico State, as they will depend on Arnold for contribution.
But at first, it wasn’t always like this. Before she graduated Ceres High, she decided that she wanted to play nearby. So she sent e-mails and made phone calls to the Stanislaus coach, letting Schefkowitz know she’s interested. “I annoyed her,” Arnold said.
The coach gave her an opportunity, but not as a pitcher.
“She was always a quality pitcher,” Schefkowitz said, “but she’s also a quality first baseman and a very good batter. And we were trying to get her to focus on first base and hitting.”
Arnold’s response was this: “If they need me on the mound, I’ll be on the mound. If they need me on the bench, I’ll be on the bench.”
That attitude helped her to become this season’s top pitcher after one ace, Schefkowitz “ended up not coming” and another got injured. Arnold knew all along she wanted to be the go-to thrower.
“I’m really mentally preparing myself for these games,” she said. “I’ve never been a top pitcher. I was always told, ‘You’ll never be a college pitcher. You’re not good enough.’ I was always told I was not good enough. That kind of gives me an incentive to do good. I didn’t know I was capable of playing at this level. I know I always wanted to. That’s every girl’s dream when growing up and playing sports.
“To say, ‘Hey, I can do this.’”
To contact Chhun Sun, e-mail or call 634-9141 ext. 2041.