BLACKSBURG, Va. (WFXR) — We’re still months away from softball season but there’s already a buzz in the air in Blacksburg about Virginia Tech’s future. And that’s mainly due to the return of star pitcher and All-American Keely Rochard. The super senior’s laid back off-season approach could be the key to success in 2022.
Rochard has been taking it easy this summer.
“I haven’t really done anything over the summer. I don’t really do anything. I just relax,” Rochard said. “But in the fall, I’ll just work on getting better on what I can.”
The Virginia Tech ace is getting ready for her fifth and final season in Blacksburg, granted by the NCAA because of the pandemic. But her decision to come back wasn’t easy.
“I don’t want to regret anything,” Rochard said. “I worked so hard to get to college to play the sport and I love the sport and I love the sport because of my coaches.”
Her coaches didn’t want to push too hard in convincing the ACC pitcher of the year to return.
“I just said Keely, we’d love to have you back. I’m just thankful she’s back, like I said it’s big for our program,” head coach Pete D’Amour said. “She’s got unfinished business and I’m looking forward to seeing her throw again.”
Unfinished business because the Hokies were one win away from the College World Series, ultimately falling to UCLA at Super Regionals. Since then, Rochard has focused on taking time away from the sport.
“It’s really important. Really so you don’t burnout,” Rochard said. “We pitch every single day during the school year so having three months to just relax is a big deal and it helps a lot.”
And a laid-back approach could give her and the Hokies an edge when she returns to the circle next spring.
“Technically, my college is over. I’ve already done for years so now I’m just going to relax and do like whatever,” Rochard said. “It’s kinda just chill, also on the other hand I just want to enjoy my very last year of like nothing to do except for softball.”
Relaxed, yet focused on the next pitch.