Think Fast!

March 13, 2012

By Jon Cooper
Sting Daily

Knowledge is power in the hands of the right person.

Kelly Delashmit is one of those people.

The Yellow Jackets’ pinch-running specialist gets a lot of time to think and observe during a game while waiting for her opportunity to do what she does — which is run quite fast. She puts it to good use.

“We’re always trying to take signs, we’re trying to figure out what the other team is doing and we’re trying to be as successful as we can be,” said the junior outfielder and Marietta native. “In high school, I didn’t realize it either, I would get on base because I was fast or I would run but I never really understood that there are better ways to be successful because you can watch the other team and you can see other things that might help you and get the extra base. Before I wouldn’t have noticed and probably wouldn’t have gone on.

“You can tell sometimes when they’re going to throw a change-up next by certain things that the pitcher does on certain pitches,” she added. “Different things, maybe different tendencies that a pitcher has that you can tell where they’re going to go with it, what pitches they’re going to throw and the catcher will sometimes give it away, too. You have to be aware of the situation, aware of what the count is, knowing what they’ve thrown all game and how you can see what’s going to come next.”

Her ability to not only spot tendencies but take advantage of them explains why she has an 83.3 percent success rate in stolen bases in her college career (10 successful thefts in 12 tries).

Her ability to talk about it at-length explains why she’ll probably be successful in her goal of becoming a sportscaster when she graduates. (For an even better example, check out her “grilling” of teammate Kelsi Weseman here)

Making things happen is part of Delashmit’s role as a base-stealer. It’s a high-risk, high-reward pursuit, which is very much encouraged by Head Coach Sharon Perkins.

“It’s definitely on us. It’s a green light if you think you’ve got it,” Delashmit said. “[Coach Perkins] loves when we’re aggressive so she’s all about us going on a ball on the ground or to the backstop. She’s totally behind us.

“It’s definitely, `You better be safe if you’re going to go,'” she added. “If you’re really aggressive and you are thrown out, she’ll be upset but she’s happy that you made the attempt, that you’re going hard for it. There are places and situations where it’s not smart, where you’re not going to be overly aggressive. But we know what those situations are. So for the most part, she’s thrilled when we’re aggressive and try to take an extra base.”

Being aggressive will be the order of the day when the Yellow Jackets play host to arch-rival Georgia tonight at Mewborn Field (first pitch is scheduled for 7:00).

The Jackets (15-12) aren’t dwelling on their tough weekend passed, when they were swept in their ACC-opening series against Virginia, scoring only four runs in three games.

In fact, taking on their rival might be just what they need to bounce back.

“You have to have short-term memory,” Delashmit said. “We’re re-energized going into the Georgia game. It’s a rivalry. Plain old-fashioned hate. So it’s exciting for us. We’re just excited for tomorrow and ready to play ball like we know we can.”

That the Bulldogs are 21-3 and have won nine of 10 is immaterial. So is their four-game series winning streak — the Jackets are still 5-4 in the Sharon Perkins Era.

“Going into the game we don’t pay attention to stats, we don’t look at rankings, we’re not thinking about how they did. We really don’t care,” she said. “It’s about us and it’s about them and as long as we play our game we know we can beat them. They’re a real intense team. We’re just going to try to out-intense them, be focused and play our game.”

When the Jackets take the field, they know they can count on a big crowd at the Mew. Delashmit knows that in that crowd she can count on having her own fan base, including her grandparents, as well as her dad, a Georgia Tech graduate, and her mom, a Georgia grad.

Kelly insists theirs is not a house divided — not anymore.

“My dad is one of the biggest fans out there,” she said. “He’s at the field before we’re even there before a game. He’s there before warm-ups. He has to see every moment of it. He’s always there. My grandparents are there. Everybody’s there supporting me and I can always hear them when they’re yelling and it makes me feel good. So, I definitely know that they’re there.”

And her mom?

“I’ve converted her,” she said. “She was a longtime Georgia fan and so was the rest of her side of the family. But now, she’s a 100 percent Tech fan. She’ll always be in Tech gear. Even at football games she’s still a Tech fan,” she added. She’s always rooting for my team. She’s my No. 1 fan and she’ll never be rooting for Georgia again, I can tell you that much.”

Imagine…uniting Georgia Tech and Georgia. Now THAT’S making something happen.

Then, again, that’s what Kelly Delashmit does.

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