HOLLIDAYSBURG - Philipsburg-Osceola's Amanda Arnold broke her left thumb when she was hit by a pitch in the District 6 semifinal game against Ligonier Valley.
That hasn't stopped Arnold, the only left-handed hitter in the lineup, from hitting well from the No. 2 spot.
Arnold came up big in P-O's 5-0 PIAA Class AA semifinal win over Burrell Monday at Hollidaysburg's Legion Park. She went 2-for-3, drove in the first run with a single to center in the third and the last two with a bases-loaded single to right in the sixth. The second hit came with two outs.
"How clutch can you get?" P-O coach Jim Gonder said. "She knocks in the first run, and then she knocks in the fourth and fifth insurance runs with two outs. With five runs, I'm feeling pretty confident."
"She's done an amazing job all year," pitcher and cleanup hitter Chelsea Rex said. "Amanda did awesome tonight. It doesn't surprise me. Everybody has been hitting so great lately."
Leadoff hitter Carly Gonder pounded a Casey Moses offering to deep left field for a triple in the third inning. Arnold, who struck out in her first at-bat, then singled up the middle through a drawn-in infield.
"I was just looking for any pitch to hit," Arnold said. "I was just ready to hit. I really wanted to get a hit and drive her in. It was a big run. Any run is really important because these games come down to one or two runs. [Moses] was one of the better pitchers we've seen."
Arnold, a Seton Hill recruit, is also proficient at bunting. In fact, she moved Gonder over to second in the fifth with a sacrifice bunt, and Mackenzie Wilson followed with a run-scoring single to center.
In Arnold's final at-bat, she pulled a Moses offering into right field, chasing Macy Harpster and pinch runner Haley Frank home to make the score 5-0.
"She almost kills me every time I'm on first base," said Carly Gonder, who drew a walk to load the bases. "She's a strong girl. I'm her partner in practice every day, and I know she can hit. She pulls through all the time. I like having her behind me."
P-O's chances of coming back to beat Ligonier Valley or even get to this point could have taken a major hit when Arnold broke her thumb. She, however, went 3-for-3 after she was hit by Christine Henderson, and she's hitting .415 going into Friday's state championship game against Brandywine Heights.
"That game that she did it, she had one of the best games of her season," Carly Gonder said. "She was in so much pain too. It doesn't even hurt her that much anymore. It's a lot better."
"It happened the first at-bat of the game, and I played the rest of the game with it," Arnold said. "So, I knew I could at least suck it up and deal with it."
But, it has to hurt right? She must feel pain with every swing.
"It doesn't hurt as bad now," she said, "but the first couple games really bothered it. It doesn't affect my swing at all. If anything, it's when I catch [the ball]
"She's one of the toughest people I've ever known," Rex said. "She doesn't say anything. I don't think I've heard her once complain. If you ask her, she'll tell you 'Yeah, it still hurts a little bit,' or 'It's okay today.' She always sticks it out for the team."
"She's a competitor," Coach Gonder said. "I have not heard her say one thing about it. I ask her every day 'How's the thumb doing?' [She'll say] 'It's fine Coach.' Okay, I'm not going to ask again."
Arnold has been a key addition to the Lady Mounties since she transferred from West Branch after her sophomore year. Last year, she hit .392 and led P-O in doubles with 11.
"We're a lot more intense than they were, I think," Carly Gonder said comparing P-O and West branch. "I think that's the way she likes it."
Now, Arnold and the rest of the Lady Mounties will get ready for the state championship at Penn State's Nittany Lion Softball Park. In last year's state title game, P-O lost a 3-1 heartbreaker to Nanticoke in 11 innings.
"I'm really looking forward to it," Arnold said. "I really want to win since we lost last year."