Over spring break, the Virginia Tech softball team boarded a plane to Tempe, Arizona for the Diamond Devil Invitational, going 4-1 in the Invitational to bring its overall record to 18-6.
“I felt that we did really well,” said Betty Rose, a sophomore catcher. “We gelled together and did what we had to do.”
Tech began the tournament Friday with wins over Weber State and Florida Gulf Coast.
Senior Kenzie Roark (W, 9-3) threw a one-hitter against Weber State, winning 8-0 in five innings. Freshman Dani Anderson and junior Kelsey Hensel each had two hits, along with four other girls with one hit each to solidify the win against a weak Weber State (6-11) squad, whose four errors in the second inning caused the team to fall apart.
The day continued with a 10-3 win over Florida Gulf Coast. Tech started the game off with a three-run home run by sophomore Courtney Liddle followed by a solo home run by Rose to increase the score to 4-0. Later in the sixth, Rose had a three-run home run to add to the score. Florida Gulf Coast stared to rally back in the fifth, scoring one and loading the bases before Roark ended the inning with a strikeout.
Sophomore Jasmin Harrell (W, 4-1) went 4.1 innings, allowing three runs on four hits with two walks and seven strikeouts. Roark picked up her second save, allowing three hits while striking out five.
The next day, Tech played No. 8 Arizona State University but lost 10-3.
“I was excited to play ASU,” Banks said. “We’re always talking about how we have targets on our backs, so we were pumped because we were the underdogs and they had the targets.”
Tech jumped to a 2-0 lead after freshman Kat Banks hit her first home run of the season, and Liddle hit a double later in the inning to bring in another run. Roark started the game on the mound, leaving ASU scoreless until the third inning. The Sun Devils scored two runs before an accident between Hokies center fielder Banks and right fielder Marra Hvozdovic led to an inside-the-park three-run home run, which put them up 5-2.
“It was the perfect in-between ball,” Banks said. “We were both going after it and neither of us called it. At the last minute we decided to both dive for it. Her face went straight into my collarbone.”
Both players had to leave the game, while Hvozdovic broke her thumb and suffered a concussion during the incident.
After Banks and Hvozdovic were off the field, ASU came back to hit a two-run homerun that put them up 7-2 and forced Tech to take out Roark in exchange for Harrell.
“I wasn’t really nervous to pitch, I was excited,” Harrell said. “I knew they were a good hitting team and I wanted to show them what I had to see if I could hold them.”
ASU star freshman pitcher Dallas Escobedo had acareer high 16 strikeouts, with Tech recording only six hits.
“Escobedo was the National High School Player of the Year,” said Scot Thomas, head coach. “She is obviously a special kid.”
Roark (L, 9-4) went 2.2 innings, allowing seven runs with two walks. Harrell finished, allowing three runs on four hits with a strikeout.
After an upsetting loss to ASU, Tech came back that night to beat Campbell 5-3. Singles from Ander and junior Kristen Froehlich in the first inning set up for a three-run home run by Rose, her third home run of the tournament. Campbell hit a three-run home run in the fourth inning to stay in the game but Tech Senior Richelle McGarva hit a triple in the fifth and scored on a wild pitch to give Tech the lead.