Arnold signs with College of Albemarle

Published 2:08 pm Friday, July 22, 2011

Lilyann Arnold, who recently graduated from Northside High School, delivers a pitch during a Panthers game earlier this year. Arnold has signed on to pitch for the College of Albemarle next season. (WDN Photo/Brian Haines)

Equipped with a dizzying array of off-speed pitches, Northside’s Lilyann Arnold enabled the Panthers to be one of the most competitive squads in a Four Rivers Conference that is loaded with tough teams. Now, the recently graduated Arnold will look to continue her dominance at the next level as she has signed to play softball at the College of Albemarle next season.
The girl who always made a splash when she took the mound said that she was thrilled to be a member of the Dolphins and was intrigued by the fact it is a fledgling softball program that will be going into its second season by the time she arrives at its Elizabeth City campus.
“I visited other schools that offered opportunities for softball but I felt that because it’s a new program I wanted to try to impact that program and be a part of something that is growing,” Arnold said.
Arnold, who has been playing softball since she was a 11-years old, said that she wasn’t sure if she was going to play softball after high school, but after Northside’s loss in the second round of the NCHSAA 1-A playoffs the hurler wasn’t ready to throw down her mitt.
“I wasn’t going to play softball,” Arnold said. “But the last game at Northside High School I got really upset and realized ‘this was it.’”
Not long after that Dolphins’ coach Mike Pierce dialed up Arnold with an offer and the ace took it.
Arnold, who had interest from other schools such as Pitt CCC, Peace and N.C. Wesleyan, felt the College of Albemarle offered the perfect environment.
“You always want to pick a school that fits you and you feel most comfortable at and it felt like home almost. The people were really nice and welcoming,” Arnold said. “(Pierce) told me you’re here to go to school, softball is what we do on the side but when we do play softball you’re going to be working hard and be disciplined.”
Arnold has been working hard at softball since she first picked up a ball and learned how to be a menace on the mound despite not having an overwhelming fastball. She will look to do the same for the Dolphins.
“I throw a drop ball, curveball, changeup and screwball, but the changeup is my favorite,” Arnold said. “Talking to my coach, he said that at the college level it’s not so much about throwing fast but about placing the ball and mixing my speeds up. So that’s what I’ll be working on this summer.”