Former Brakettes star Kathy Arendsen
By Tom Chiappetta
The Fairfield County Sports Hall of Fame (HOF) 2021 class of inductees, named eight prominent sports figures into its three wings. With the eight new honorees, the HOF has now recognized 111 Fairfield county sports legends in its 17 years of existence
Former Stratford Brakettes star pitcher Kathy Arendsen was one of the eight inductees, along with:
Jackie Robinson Professional Wing: Cam Atkinson (Riverside); Joe LaCava (Newtown); Chris Smith (Bridgeport); the late Chico Vejar (Stamford).
James O’Rourke Amateur Wing: Kathy Arendsen (Stratford); Ellie Karvoski (Norwalk)
- Walter Kennedy Community Service Wing: the late Ed Crotty (Danbury); Mike Ornato (Greenwich)
Kathy Arendsen was one of the Stratford Brakettes’ greatest pitchers for 15 years from 1978-1992. A 13-time All-American she led the team to 9 ASA national titles and three ISF world championships. She concluded her career with 337 wins (3rd best in team history) and only 26 losses, a 0.15 ERA,79 no-hitters, 42 perfect games, and is 2nd all-time with 4,061 strikeouts.
At her peak in the 1980 and ’81 seasons Arendsen was virtually unbeatable and unhittable, posting an 0.07 ERA in both years and setting the top two team season records with 593 and 551 strikeouts. Arendsen has been honored at all levels of her softball/athletic career being selected to the International Softball HOF (2003) and National ASA HOF (1996), where she was the youngest player (37) ever inducted into that shrine.
As a collegian, she was named the top player in college softball three consecutive years and has been voted into halls of fame at both Cal State-Chico and Texas Women’s where she helped guide her teams to AIAW Division I National Championships in 1979 and 1980, respectively. In her native Michigan she has been recognized by Michigan’s ASA HOF and the Michigan Sports HOF (2003).
The 6-foot-3 right-hander pitched Team USA to medals at the Pan American Games in 1979 (gold) and a silver in ‘83. She also competed at the 1981 World Games, where she helped the U.S. to another first-place finish. In 1981, Arendsen became the first softball player ever to be a finalist for the James E. Sullivan award that recognizes the top amateur athlete in the country. She continued her softball life by becoming one of the top college head coaches, starting in 1983 at Western Connecticut and ending in 2009 at Oregon with 607 victories at five different universities.