Arnold, Snyder lift Milton over Bulldogs

MARK NANCE/Sun-Gazette Jersey Shore catcher Alyssa Stover is late with the tag as Milton’s Amanda Arnold safely steals home on a passed ball in the second inning.

JERSEY SHORE — Amanda Arnold and Emily Snyder really do not remember a time when they were not teammates. The underclassmen have been joined throughout their softball journeys and are a big reason Milton has been so successful at every level.

And Jersey Shore learned Tues­day that the long-time team­mates make a powerful combination.

Hitting back-to-back, Arnold and Snyder both had three hits and three RBIs, sparking a potent offense as Milton delivered 14 hits and defeated Jersey Shore, 10-1. Kacee Reitz also had three hits and the Black Panthers (15-1) won their 12th straight game as Kylie Brouse threw a one-hitter.

“Growing up, Emily and I have always been teammates and the whole time we’ve been told hitting is contagious,” Arnold said. “I know when someone hits well in front of me it gives me a boost and I think when I get some hits it gets passed down the line.”

It certainly did yesterday. Arnold, hitting in the No. 6 spot, went 3 for 4 with three RBIs and three runs. Snyder went 3 for 4 with a triple, double and three RBIs, finishing a home run shy of hitting for the cycle. Both started their days 3 for 3 and at one point, they were a combined 6 for 6 with five RBIs and four runs.

Milton scored a run in each of the first two innings and Arnold and Snyder started breaking things open an inning later. Arnold hit a two-out RBI single and Snyder followed with an RBI triple. Both delivered with two outs again in the fourth inning as Arnold hit an RBI single and Snyder a two-run double as Milton took an 8-0 lead.

“I was just staying focused and looking for my pitching,” said Snyder, a sophomore flourishing as a first-time starter. “I was staying confident up there.”

“The great thing about it is Emily and Amanda have been pretty consistent since the Mifflinburg game (two weeks ago) and Emily has been hitting all year long,” Milton coach Bill Keefer said. “The bottom of the order been pretty consistent all year and top of order has been sporadic. When everybody clicks we have days like today and games like we had at the Williamsport Tournament.”

Milton beat 5A power Lower Dauphin and 6A St. Huberts in convincing fashion at the tournament, scoring 15 runs and collecting 25 hits. The Panthers have been sporadic at times offensively, but it is games like those and yesterday’s that reveal how dangerous this team can be.

Brouse has been a dominant pitcher the past two seasons and took a perfect game into the fifth inning against Jersey Shore, retiring the first 14 batters and striking out 11. She is tied for the area lead in shutouts with eight. So if Milton complements Brouse’s pitching with consistent hitting it looks capable of making a deep postseason run.

“We talk to them about the teams they beat at Williamsport and tell them you can play with anybody,” Keefer said. “It’s just a matter of showing up ready to play.”

“Lately we’ve been waiting till later in the game to score, but we can’t always rely on Kylie because we’ll have games where teams are going to hit so we have to come out and not take teams lightly and come out early and start hitting,” Arnold said. “With all the girls on the team, I know they can all hit. It’s just a matter of timely hitting.”

Milton received both timely and early consistent hitting yesterday. Haley Aunkst led off the game with a double and Reitz scored her a batter later with an RBI triple. Arnold and Snyder both singled in the second inning and Arnold scored on a wild pitch. After two more back-to-back Arnold and Snyder run-scoring hits in the third inning, Saige Graham hit an RBI single and made it 8-0.

Leighton Chappell ignited the three-run third and fourth innings with singles and pinch-hitter Austin Swallow ripped a single that led to a seventh-inning run. Giving Brouse all that run support made the big lead look more like a 100-run cushion at times. Brouse struck out seven straight between the first and third innings and finished with 11 strikeouts. After needing just 59 pitches and 83 pitches in eight innings in her last two games to mow through opponents, Brouse took a no-hitter into the sixth inning, allowed no earned runs and walked one, that being the only time she went to a three-ball count.

Although it lost, Jersey Shore could soon earn a playoff rematch. The Bulldogs could be seeded anywhere from No. 2-4 in the upcoming 4A playoffs but right now would be the 4-seed. If it stays that way, the Bulldogs would either face Athens in a quarterfinal or go right to the semifinals and play top-seeded Milton. So having better at-bats against Brouse over the last four innings and Brianna Herman delivering a sixth-inning single and scoring a run are encouraging signs if a rematch happens.

As much as both teams wanted to win yesterday, it also was a feeling out process. Now both long-time rivals who have combined to win 10 district championships since 2006 have a better feel for what they will see if they cross paths again.

The Bulldogs qualified for playoffs Monday when they overcame a three-run deficit and defeated Loyalsock, 6-3. Jersey Shore also raised money for cancer awareness, playing its annual Pink-Out Game. The softball program has generated thousands of dollars the last few years through efforts like those.

“It shows good fellowship and that is really important,” Jersey Shore coach Dan Lazorka said. “We have a group of kids who are healthy and athletic and I want them to buy into that and appreciate that. We also want them to buy into that anything worthwhile is not done alone. It’s a team effort and that’s something we want them to appreciate.”

Milton 113 301 1–10 14 3

J. Shore 000 001 0–1 1 2

Kylie Brouse and Leighton Chappell. Arizona Shreck, Montana Ohl (3) and Alyssa Stover. W–Brouse, (15-1). L–Shreck, (1-1).

Top Milton hitters: Kacee Reitz 3-4, 3B, RBI; Chappell 2-4; Amanda Arnold 3-4, 3 RBI, 3 R; Emily Snyder 3-4, 3B, 2B, 3 RBI, R; Saige Graham 1-3, RBI; Austin Swallow 1-1. Top Jersey Shore hitters: Brianna Herman 1-3, R.

Records: Milton 15-1. Jersey Shore 10-8.