confidence during magical run
By Pat Turner
Briana Arredondo is enjoying Warren’s magical ride through the Class 6A softball playoffs to the fullest.
Since Warren’s 5-3 bi-district playoff victory over Smithson Valley, the Warriors first post-season win in the program’s history, excitement has grown at a rapid pace with sweeps over Austin Lake Travis, District 27-6A opponent O’Connor and Edinburg Vela.
Arredondo is reminded of the commotion the Warriors have created constantly. Support is mind-blowing. Not only are fans filling the stands at games, posted signs of encouragement greet her each morning when arriving on campus.
If everything falls in place in Friday’s one-game playoff against New Braunfels Canyon, the senior catcher and her teammates could experience the thrill of an even bigger first – being Region IV champions and earning a trip to the State Softball Tournament.
“I cried after the Vela game,” said Arredondo, referring to the Warriors’ 4-3 come-from-behind victory that wrapped up the best-of-three series. “It took a lot of out of me, because it was such a commotion that game. I’ve taken it all in. I am having fun and running with it.
Although Warren’s success is something new, Arredondo saw it coming. Even though the A&M-International signee was the only senior, she believed the Warriors had enough talent for a banner year.
After all, the pitching looked sharp with freshman pitcher Annika Litterio. Lauren Garcia was also solid and good vibes were also coming from Dynasty Harpel, Cassie Davis, Austin Germain, Lauryn Hernandez, Tori Jimenez and Alana Medellin.
Still, many of them were making their varsity debuts and Arredondo knew it was her responsibility to keep everyone on the same page.
“When we played MacArthur (scrimmage) and beat them I knew something special was happening,” Arredondo said. “They’re a playoff team and it showed us we could beat good teams. I knew we were going to come out stronger. I saw a lot of confidence. I saw a lot of fight, a lot of will. That’s what was needed. We had each other’s back.”
Arredondo is contributing regularly. Her bat has made plenty of noise throughout Warren’s 27-5 season. She knows how to handle things defensively behind the plate and makes it tough on opponents trying to steal bases.
Most important, she has a solid grasp of what is happening on the field. She knows what pitches work in certain situations and how to keep her teammates ready for whatever comes their way.
“I just brought my leadership,” Arredondo said. “I am the one who has been here the longest. I had to bring confidence. I knew what I could do, and I knew what they could do. I try to stay positive no matter what.”
Second-year Warren coach Melanie Morales has no doubt Arredondo is a difference maker. She saw that ability in her catcher as a junior and has seen it improve with age.
“Briana is a role model to these girls,” Morales said. “She is the leader. She is my eyes behind the plate when I can’t see something. She means the world to these girls. We’re going to miss her next year for sure.”
What’s made the situation even sweeter for Arredondo is contributing at her favorite position. After playing the infield in the beginning, Arredondo eagerly moved to catcher. However, a broken wrist during basketball season caused her to miss a good portion of her junior campaign. Despite the setback, Arredondo continued to work and came back stronger.
“I love being a catcher, because I am very confident,” Arredondo said. “I know a lot about the game. I study the game a lot. Everything that comes to me I use it when I am playing.
“I get to talk to the pitcher and everybody. I like being the one everybody counts on.”