BLACKSBURG, Va. – Their talent? Unlimited. Their execution? Has room for improvement. But the Virginia Tech softball team sees that as a positive as they enter the ACC Tournament.
“I think we could’ve played a little better this year overall,” said Virginia Tech head coach Pete D’Amour. “But, at the end of the year when you’re sitting comfortably in the postseason, it speaks volume to where the program is.”
The Hokies are ranked 20th in the nation, fourth in the ACC with an unpredictable hitting machine on offense with four players batting at .300 or better.
“We have so much talent on this team and we’re so deep, that you can take all the starters out now and put another 9 out there and it would be exactly the same,” said Hokies sophomore Jayme Bailey. “So you have to find who’s hot and go with it.”
D’Amour says it’s one of the most talented lineups he’s ever had, which is why it’s troubling that as a team they’re batting under .300.
“We’re such good hitters that we get ourselves out a lot so we don’t strikeout a lot but on the flip side we put balls in play that maybe we shouldn’t,” D’Amour said.
“One of our big things is leaving runners on base. So we’ll get our runners on but won’t cash in,” Bailey said.
The Hokies opponents find themselves striking out a lot, thanks to ace pitcher and ACC Pitcher of the Year, Keely Rochard.
“I just take each pitch one at a time and whatever the result is, is the result,” said Rochard.
Those results? Good enough to lead the nation in strikeouts, shutouts and lead the ACC in wins. But she’s focused on getting more of the ones that truly count in the postseason.
“Everyone is so good during regular season but your competition does get harder and each game becomes more important. So it really is just a matter of just limiting your mistakes,” said Rochard.
And it will all start on Thursday at 1:30 p.m. when the Hokies take on Notre Dame. You’ll recall the Fighting Irish swept the Hokies in a 4-game series in Blacksburg at the end of April.