Coach John Szefc took over a struggling program in a premium league (ACC Baseball is like ACC Basketball) with a scattering of solid players but with a non-existant bull pen and an invisible starting pitching rotation. The past several seasons have been disappointing, and Whit Babcock, being an old baseball player himself (for the JMU Dukes) decided that Virginia Tech deserved to have a really quality baseball program with a first rate facility and a championship quality coach. His first move, last season, was to get the Ball Park straightend out. No one ever wrote home to Mom to extol the virtues and magnificence of old English Field. Whit arranged something special with Union Bank, and this season saw a big change. Union Park at English Field has had its grand opening, and it should be completely finished before long. The first pitch for the 2019 Season will be in a completed facility with all of the bells and whistles, including a new clubhouse and paying customers. We’ll try to get to on of the games this Commencement Weekend to get some pictures. (My apologies to our readers, job demands, bad weather, and scheduling have interfered greatly this season.)
What we have, now is a baseball team that is in complete rebuild mode. We are going to bid farewell to some very special Seniors, though. Redshirt Seniors; Tom Stoffel, Luke Scherzer, Sam Fragale, and Andrew McDonald will be joined by true Seniors; Connor Coward, Joey Sullivan, and Joe Freiday, Jr. as they try their fortunes at whatever endeavors await them after their eligibility exhausts. We’ll track them to see how the baseball draft treats them. Some may pursue other opportunities, but we will miss them and wish them well.
The remainder of the team will still be here. Coach Szefc has been subbing in many underclassmen, and there are even more new players who will show up in the Fall for the practice season. This team is set to build in this year’s improvements. We all have to be patient, but we certainly don’t have to be passive.
Let’s take a look at the current situation and the remainder of the season.
Overall: 20-26 Non-Conference: 12-10 Conference: 8-16
With eight games left, six are conference games, and there isn’t any possibility of a winning conference record. Tech is six games out from a .500 season. While sweeping or winning 6 our of eight games is probably not going to happen, Tech does have the possibility of breaking even for the season. Last season’s total collapse at the close for a very disappointing 23 and 31 could be avoided with some better luck falling the Hokies’ way in close games. Well we would hope, anyway. Two of the Louisville games were close pitching duels that were lost late. Two Notre Dame games were battled for one run differences, one of which was a 12 inning marathon. The Hokies did get an 11 inning walk-off against Duke, but the remainder of the games ended up in struggles.
The Virginia Tech Hokies Late Season Schedule
|Wed. Apr 11 / 6 pm|
|Fri. Apr 13 / 6 pm||Sat. Apr 14 / 1 pm||Sat. Apr 14 / 7 pm|
|(21) Louisville ACC||(21) Louisville ACC||(21) Louisville ACC|
|L- 2-3||L- 1-3||L- 1-16|
|Tue. Apr 17 / 6 pm|
|Wed. Apr 18 / 6 pm|
|W- 6-5 (10)|
|Fri. Apr 20 / 6 pm||Sat. Apr 21 / 2 pm||Sun. Apr 22 / 1 pm|
|at Notre Dame ACC||at Notre Dame ACC||at Notre Dame ACC|
|W- 9-1||L- 7-8 (12)||L- 5-6|
|Wed. Apr 25 / 6 pm||Tue. May 1 / 6 pm|
|L- 7-9||W- 8-3|
|Fri. Apr 27 / 6 pm||Sat. Apr 28 / 3 pm||Sun. Apr 29 / 1 pm|
|(9) Duke ACC||(9) Duke ACC||(9) Duke ACC|
|W- 4-3 (11)||L- 5-11||L- 0-7|
|Wed. May 2 / 6 pm|
|Wed. May 9 / 6:30 pm|
|at West Virginia|
|Fri. May 11 / 6 pm||Sat. May 12 / 3 pm||Sun. May 13 / 1 pm|
|Miami ACC||Miami ACC||Miami ACC|
|Tue. May 15 / 6 pm|
|William & Mary|
|Thu. May 17 / 6 pm||Fri. May 18 / 6 pm||Sat. May 19 / 2 pm|
|at North Carolina ACC||at North Carolina ACC||at North Carolina ACC|
Needless to say the ACC Tournament, and the followup NCAA contest won’t be on the agenda for this season. The new coaching staff has lots more work to do to get to that next level. Patience is going to be key. Baseball is a marathon, and all rebuilding efforts take time.
We will be reporting back for Graduation Weekend, hopefully with some shots of the new stadium and a few wins.
Special Story Coming up for Friday! Virginia Tech Hokie 2018 Spring Commencement at Lane Stadium, which is the real point of all of college sports reports, anyway!