Blanchet's Heather Arp has contrasting roles in different arenas

Blanchet's Heather Arp has contrasting roles in different arenas

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Blanchet's Heather Arp has contrasting roles in different arenas

Heather Arp isn’t an actress, but she’s simultaneously playing two very different parts.

In one part she is the stage manager for Blanchet Catholic School’s production of Once Upon a Mattress.

If she does everything right – like designing the lighting, getting microphones set up and building sets – no one will notice she was there.

In the other part she is a pitcher for Blanchet’s softball team.

When everything goes right – like when she threw a perfect game against Gervais last season – everyone notices her.

“It’s just different dynamics, but she’s awesome at both of them,” said senior Katarina Veliz, who plays the evil Queen Aggravain in the play and the part of an all-state first baseman in softball.

Blanchet pitcher Heather Arp has been a starter since she was a freshman.

Blanchet pitcher Heather Arp has been a starter since she was a freshman.

Arp discovered long ago that she doesn’t want to be an actor, but she does want the limelight that comes along with being a pitcher.

“So I guess I just kind of have the best of both worlds,” said Arp, a junior. “I guess I can’t make up my mind.”

Arp has been playing softball – well, she started with baseball and switched to softball at age 7 – since age four.

But she figures she should have been a catcher because her father and brother were.

She tried cheerleading once – “And cheer wasn’t my thing, obviously, but I did it anyway” – but her cheer coach, Dierdra Southern, suggested that Arp should try pitching.

It worked out that Southern’s father, Jerry Southern, was a long-time pitching coach in the area, and he was exactly what Arp needed at that point in her life.

“He believed in me when nobody else really did,” Arp said of her mentor who passed away in 2014. “He got me into it. He had confidence in me. He would come to Blanchet auctions and talk to (Blanchet president Tony) Guevara and just talk about softball. He kind of put in a good word for me. He was a big part of my life, I guess.”

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Where Arp was Blanchet’s only pitcher the past two years, now there is another arm in the mix.

Freshman pitcher Savannah Barchus has made an instant impact on the team. That could have created problems, but Arp has been mature about the situation.

She still mixes her screw ball with a devastating drop curve to get outs.

“She’s good,” senior Analyssa Ruiz said of Arp. “She is our ace, I think. She knows that she has a different position that she can play. She knows that no matter what there is a spot for her. I don’t think it phases her very much.”

Having another pitcher on the team has been good for Arp.

Last season she begged Brewer to let her play in the infield for a game or two.

But Brewer couldn’t because she couldn’t afford to risk her getting hurt because Arp was the only arm the team had.

Now Arp plays second base whenever she’s not pitching and she’s displaying that she’s a better-than capable fielder.

“Savannah is giving Heather a little more competition, and Heather is showing Savannah the work ethic that we have here and that we put in so she’s setting a good example,” Brewer said.

“The first game (Arp) pitched she did really well. Everything was working and she was on.”

bpoehler@StatesmanJournal.com or Twitter.com/bpoehler

Softball preview

Greater Valley Conference

McKay

Coach: Scott Coons, second year.

2016 record: 0-16 GVC, 0-20 overall.

Key athletes:

Shay Coons, so., 1B: Played well as a freshman and is a good multi-sport athlete.

Jalyssa Mendez, sr., C/2B: A varsity player since her freshman year.

Outlook: The Royal Scots have improving numbers and will contend for wins this season.

McNary

Coach: Kevin Wise, sixth year.

2016 record: 10-6 GVC, 12-15 overall.

Key athletes:

Nadia Witt, jr., IF: A first-team all-league player last season and one of the top player in the league.

Faith Danner, so., P/IF: A surprise in the pitching circle, she was one of the top throwers in the conference as a freshman.

Emma Kinler, jr., OF: A three-year starter and a first-team all-league player as a sophomore.

Outlook: The Celtics have a talented group of players that they will combine with five freshmen and should contend for the league title.

North Salem

Coach: Jay Elders, first year.

2016 record: 2-14 GVC, 2-23 overall.

Outlook: Elders was formerly the softball coach at McKay.

South Salem

Coach: Scott McCormick, 22nd year.

2016 record: 5-11 GVC, 7-19 overall.

Key athletes:

Maygen McGrath, jr., P: A standout player since her freshman year, she has improved significantly and has become one of the top players in the state.

Amber Enomoto-Haole, sr., IF: An honorable mention all-league player last year.

Outlook: The Saxons have a talented freshman class that will mesh well with the team’s experienced core of upperclassmen.

Sprague

Coach: Rocky Knuth, sixth year.

2016 record: 9-7 GVC, 14-13 overall.

Key athletes:

McKell McCuistion, jr., IF: The middle infielder has been a standout since her freshman year at Sprague and was first-team all-league last year.

Kiyah Brown, jr., OF: A strong arm in the outfield who was second-team all-league as a sophomore.

Outlook: The Olympians have a talented core of players and should contend for a top four spot in the league.

West Salem

Coach: Ty Nicholson, second year.

2016 record: 14-2 GVC, 19-8 overall.

Key athletes:

Bailey Holmquist, sr., IF: Signed to play softball at Western Oregon and a first-team all-league player last season.

Taylor Redman, jr., P: A three-year starter at pitcher who was first-team all-league as a sophomore.

Taylor Holmquist, so., CF: Made a big debut as a freshman and was first-team all-league.

Outlook: The Titans have a combination of experienced players and promising freshmen who will make the team a contender for the league championship.

Also in the GVC

Forest Grove: The Vikings have some talented players, but will need some of their younger group to produce to challenge for a state playoff spot.

McMinnville: The Grizzlies were young last year and have the potential to challenge for the league championship.

West Albany: The Bulldogs won the league championship last season and with a talented roster including Kennedy Jantzi and Georgia Smith will challenge for it again.

Other Mid-Valley Conferences

Mid-Willamette Conference: Lebanon is the defending league champion and has the talent to contend for the league crown again. Silverton returns first-team all-league players in Daisy Hernandez, Maggie Roth and Maggie Buckholz and has the talent to compete for the league championship.

Dallas has some young talent and should compete for a playoff spot. Central has an experienced squad including all-league players Jori Kerr, Kyra Noon and Erin Cole and eight varsity players who will make them a league contender.

Oregon West Conference: A Newport team that swept the conference last season is the favorite to win it again. Stayton has the potential to be a state playoff team with all-leaguers Sydnee Neuarth, Emily Lindemann, Kelsie Walker and Sarah VanHyning.

PacWest Conference: State semifinalist Scio swept the league last year and has the potential to repeat that. The Loggers return all-state players in Ashton Phillips, Brooke Young, Kelsey Pollard, Rheanna McDaniel, Kasidee Parazoo and Nora Mikolas. Blanchet will give Scio its biggest challenge with a team that includes returning starters Analyssa Ruiz, Kat Veliz, Maddie Fessler, Heather Arp, Maddy Kelm, Ana Coronado, Hailey Ostby and Alley Jones.

West Valley League: State runner-up Dayton will be tough to beat again with a team that includes all-state players Kylee Hill, Haley Couch and Malina Ray and starters Kalina Rojas and Anika Heidt.

2A Special District 2: Kennedy was sophomore heavy last year and made a run to the state semifinals. The team is the favorite in the league with a team led by junior pitcher Tressa Riedman.

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