METRO ROUNDUP: Arnold resigns from North Central softball to move to LTC

Tribune-Star file

Soft touch: North Central head softball coach Erica Arnold offers soft words of encouragement to Chelsey Simonson during the Thunderbirds’ regional win in 2016.

Erica Arnold, who coached North Central’s softball team to the IHSAA Class 2A state championship in 2015, has resigned from her job at North Central.

Arnold is leaving to join Lincoln Trail College’s staff as associate head coach in 2020 and she will take over as head coach of the Statesmen in 2021. She will join Gary Rodgers’ staff at Robinson, Ill. junior college. Arnold played for Rodgers at St. Mary-of-the-Woods.

“Coach Rodgers was my coach at St. Mary’s. He asked me to come over and that’s what got the ball rolling,” said Arnold on Monday. “It’s really going to be a learning experience and I’m glad I get to do it with coach Rodgers because he’s been doing it for a long time. The first year we’ll be co-coaches together and then the next year I’ll take over. The first year will be a learning experience for me.”

North Central assistant coach Ron Miller will also be joining the LTC staff with Arnold.

Arnold coached North Central for nine seasons, compiling a 189-62 record. In addition to the 2015 state championship, won 3-0 over Boone Grove, the Thunderbirds were also runner-up in Class A in 2018, falling 10-1 to Pioneer in the title game. 

Since 2015, North Central is the only area softball team to make it to a state softball championship game in any class. Ron Miller.

“The family [at North Central] and community is hard to leave behind, but this has been a dream of mine to continue coaching and get to the next level. I couldn’t turn the opportunity down,” Arnold said. “There’s a lot of kids I still keep in contact with. There were a lot of special things [at North Central].”


• Post 346 unbeaten at state tournament — At Rockport, Wayne Newton Post 346 fell behind by six runs to Valparaiso, but once Valparaiso had to go to its bullpen, Post 346 pounced on pitching staff wildness and recorded an 8-6 victory in the American Legion state baseball tournament late Sunday.

Down 6-0 entering the top of the fifth inning, Valparaiso’s starting pitcher hit his pitch count limit, and Valparaiso’s relievers weren’t able to get anyone out.

In the five-run inning for Post 346, Valparaiso walked five batters, hit two more and had two wild pitches that led to Post 346 runs. Over the course of the sixth and seventh innings, in which Post 346 scored seven of its eight runs, Valparaiso walked 13 batters.

Post 346 (24-8) is still unbeaten in the state tournament. It was scheduled to play Lafayette late Monday in a game delayed by rain showers, but ultimately, the game was postponed to 11 a.m. today.

Post 346, Lafayette, Valparaiso and Kokomo are the survivors in the tournament as of Monday.

Post 346 000 015 2 — 8 6 4

Valparaiso 103 200 0 — 6 4 1

W — Cole Whitlock.

Highlights — For Post 346, Cole Whitlock was 2-for-3 with 2 RBI; Grant Loyed and Brayton Reed had RBI.

Next — Post 346 (24-8) plays Lafayette at 11 a.m. Tuesday. If Post 346 wins, the advancing opponent will need to be Post 346 twice on Tuesday. If Post 346 loses, it plays in a winner-take-all championship game today.

Auto racing

• Crossroads Dragway — After a three week off due to the Vigo County Fair and hot weather, Crossroads Dragway action resumed last Friday.

Amber Price won the PINK Ladies Race No. 3 over Brandi Eaton of Paris, Ill. Scheid Diesel Race No. 2 was won by Zack Danner of Pimento over 2018 champion Josh Rogers of Reelsville.

On Saturday, some of the fastest cars in the area took to the track to try to win the VP Fuels Fast 33 @ the 330’ Race.  The winner of the class was Nick Wallace of Edinburgh over Sam Smith of Terre Haute.

In Pro Class, Austin Harper of Heltonville was the winner over defending champion Eaton. The Super Pro Class winner was Jeff Vaughn of Terre Haute over Ron Smith of Terre Haute.  The Sportsman Class winner was Jed Veach of Tuscola, Ill. over Wayne Nelson of Spencer. In the Republic Services High School/Junior Street Class, Caleb Ramsey of Terre Haute took the win over Karson Kuhn of Marshall, Ill.

The Junior Dragster Class, sponsored by Malone Realty, was won by Ali Phillips of  Bruceville over Aiden Lawson of Paris, Ill.

Action resumes Friday was PINK Ladies Race No. 4. On Saturday, the feature race is the Carquest of Brazil Slammin’ 16 along with the NHRA Junior Drag Racing League Wally Race.   

Gates open at 6 p.m. and time runs begin at 6:30 p.m. Friday  On Saturday, gates open at 11 a.m. and time runs begin at 12:30 p.m.


PINK Ladies

W— Amber Price (’93 Chevy S-10) 7.810 - 88.26 (7.75 dial)

R/U— Brandi Eaton (’68 Pontiac GTO) 9.549 - 66.59 (9.57 dial)

Semi 1— Robin Pickar

Scheid Diesel Friday

W— Zack Danner (’18 Dodge Ram 3500) 10.587 - 64.59 (10.52 dial)

R/U— Josh Rogers (’99 Dodge Ram) 10.983 - 61.52 (10.96 dial)



W— Austin Harper (’78 Chevy Camaro) 6.856 - 98.66 (6.88 dial)

R/U— Chad Eaton (’85 Chevy Monte Carlo) 0 - 0 (7.46 dial) Broke

Semi 1— Doug Smith

Super Pro

W— Jeff Vaughn (’70 Chevy Nova) 5.818 - 118.77 (5.80 dial)

R/U— Ron Smith (’67 Chevy Camaro) 5.982 - 113.81 (5.95 dial)

Semi 1— Dustin Brenton


W— Jed Veach (’03 Mustang GT) 8.398 - 80.78 (8.41 dial)

R/U— Wayne Nelson (’86 Chevy Monte Carlo) 7.608 - 89.67 (7.64 dial)

Semi 1— P J Davenport

Republic Services High School/Junior Street

W— Caleb Ramsey (’77 Dodge Aspen) 8.569 - 77.23 (8.53 dial)

R/U— Karson Kuhn (’76 Plymouth Volare) 8.604 - 73.31 (8.48 dial)

Malone Realty Junior Dragster

W— Ali Phillips (’09 Power Chassis) 7.919 - 80.34 (7.90 dial)

R/U— Aiden Lawson (’05 MX2 Junior Dragster) 9.077 - 74.62 (9.04 dial)

Semi 1— Tanner Spires

VP Fuels Fast 33 @ the 330’

W— Nick Wallace (’04 Racetech RED) 3.170 - 107.42 (3.16 dial)

R/U— Sam Smith (’00 Undercover RED) 3.156 - 109.10 (3.13 dial)

Semi 1— Nick Fair

Semi 2— Ron Smith

Sports editor Todd Golden contributed to this report.