Oct. 9, 2012
By Jon Cooper
The 2013 season is an important one for Georgia Tech softball.
The defending ACC Champions will be looking at a lot of new faces to help replace a lot of familiar ones, primarily last season’s senior leaders — All-American and two-time ACC Player of the Year, third baseman Kelsi Weseman, catcher/left fielder Kate Kuzma, outfielder Jessica Sinclair, third baseman and pinch-hitter extraordinaire Danielle Dike, versatile-fielding and clutch-hitting Shannon Bear and first baseman Caroline Hilton.
The Yellow Jackets have begun their quest to revamp their lineup in preparation of defending their conference championship, with spirited fall practices and they played their first fall doubleheader against Jacksonville State last Friday at Mewborn Field. They’ll conclude fall scrimmages this weekend with a Friday twin-bill against Chipola College at The Mew then a Sunday afternoon double-header at Georgia Southern.
Senior outfielder Kelly Delashmit will be called upon to provide leadership during the upcoming season. The speedy Delashmit, an important piece off the bench for Head Coach Sharon Perkins — she made a team-high 42 appearances off the bench last season — and one of the Jackets’ biggest threats on the bases, slowed down long enough to talk with Sting Daily about what she likes so far about this year’s team, what she liked about the team’s first fall game and what she remembers she didn’t quite like about her first fall practice.
STING DAILY: How did it feel going through your last first fall practice?
Kelly Delashmit: I didn’t think I’d be sentimental about it already but I am. It kind of hit me in the first game we played, ‘This is my last first fall game ever.’ It’s weird. It’s gone by so quickly. It’s been great to get back out there with my teammates for one last year.
SD: What did you learn from last year’s senior class and how they handled their final year that you can use this year?
KD: I was very close to last year’s seniors and I learned a lot from Kelsi Weseman in particular. She led by example and did a great job for us. Just seeing how they led the team and were positive role models on the field and off the field, that’s something I want to be and strive to be. We’ve got great leaders on the team this year, [junior shortstop] Ashley [Thomas], [junior center fielder] Hayley [Downs] and ‘Rud’ (junior catcher/3B Alysha Rudnik). We’re just trying to lead the team the best we can.
SD: The team played its first game last weekend. What looks good in the early stages?
KD: We came out and were really hitting well. The first games, we’re seeing live pitching for the first time in a while, you’re usually pretty rusty. But our first games were great. We came out hitting, hitting hard, we were aggressive at the plate, there weren’t a lot of strikeouts. We were making contact and we had a lot of home run balls. It was good for us. The thing that’s different for us that I’ve seen more than I’ve seen in the past, is we have great team chemistry this year. Everybody’s really close, we really enjoy being together on and off the field. I think the most important thing for our team right now is to stick together and fight through everything together. That team chemistry is going to get us further than we have been in the past.
SD: What would you like to get out of the fall?
KD: The most important part of the fall is that the freshmen get to see what it’s going to be like. For the rest of us, we know how the spring is and the demands on your body and everything else. The freshmen get to see kind of what it’s like and get the jitters out because the first time you play in college on a field as nice as ours, you get the jitters. I still get the jitters as a senior. It’s real exciting and it’s a real proud moment. I think it’s important for them to see kind of what it’s like so that they get everything out now and they’re ready to play in the spring.
It’s working through little things that some people may not see as important but are important to work out, the little signs that you may not normally be picking up, things like that. We have to take the freshmen under our wings and teach them time management and different things like that. Because at Georgia Tech, as difficult as the school is and things like that, you have to manage softball and school together. So it’s important to take them under our wing.
SD: What do you remember about your freshman year first fall practice?
KD: First fall practice, I remember it was more tough than any practice I had ever been through. Coach Perkins runs a pretty hard practice. We go all out and we give 100 percent every time. You’ll see us diving for everything. I think one of the hardest things for me was learning. We do infield drills. We do a little bit of everything because we think that’s important to have all aspects of the game. Having not played infield for a while as an outfielder, it’s different. But we definitely had a tough practice. That’s what I remember the most.