I’ve got a few items from Georgia Tech’s spring sports.
1. Typically, when Tech’s softball team raises money for breast cancer awareness, the proceeds are donated to the Susan G. Komen Foundation. Coach Sharon Perkins and her team had little difficulty choosing to re-direct their fund-raising this season.
Amy Hosier, a 28-year-old former team member, is fighting breast cancer. Money raised by Saturday’s pink game will go to support Hosier through Amy’s Angels, established as part of a non-profit organization.
“Now it’s kind of like you can have an actual name and face with somebody,” Perkins said. “It’s kind of more of an impact on the Georgia Tech community.”
Hosier played for Tech from 2003 to 2006, earning first-team All-ACC honors as a junior and senior. She returned to her native Colorado after graduating with a management degree. Perkins and the team learned about Hosier’s diagnosis through assistant coach Aileen Morales, a teammate of Hosier’s.
“We’re just trying to do our best to do our part to show our support for her,” Perkins said.
Seeing a former player not much older than they are, who took the same classes and wore the same uniform, fight a pernicious disease has made an impact on the current Jackets team.
“I think it makes them appreciate what they have,” Perkins said. “They feel so invincible at this age, that they can do whatever they want and they’re going to be fine and make it through. It’s not always the case.”
During Tech’s series with Maryland Saturday and Sunday at Mewborn Field, the team will continue to sell pink t-shirts, visors and the like as a fund-raiser. For Sunday’s game, the team will hold a raffle for jerseys, prize packs and a week at Perkins’ softball camp. Proceeds will go to support Hosier. Game times are 1 and 3 p.m. Saturday and 2 p.m. Sunday, which will be broadcast on ESPNU.
Fund-raising to this point, including help from the women’s tennis team, has raised more than $1,200. Those interested in making a donation can visit amysangels21.com.
2. On the field, the Jackets are on a season-best five-game winning streak and may have found their stride after a rough start. A tough schedule and the temporary loss of second-team All-American third baseman Kelsi Weseman were factors in a 7-7 start. The Jackets reached their nadir in getting swept at home by Virginia in the opening weekend of ACC play March 10-11, the first time an ACC opponent had swept Tech since 2008.
Weseman missed two weeks with mononucleosis and then another week after colliding with shortstop Ashley Thomas. Pitcher Lyndsey Anderson, who pitched in 28 games last year and started 12, has also been out with a hand injury.
“She had a great start,” Perkins said of Weseman, last year’s ACC player of the year. “We were doing really well. We had beaten Arizona, we had just beaten Oklahoma and then, bam, this happens, so it’s tough.”
Tech, picked in the preseason to win its fourth consecutive ACC regular-season title, is 24-16 and 6-3 in the ACC, good for third place.
“I don’t think our record really shows the type of team we are,” Perkins said. “But that’s O.K. That’s why you play the game. We’ve got to keep taking care of business like we have been.”
3. I wrote a story about it for Friday’s paper, but Tech’s baseball team has a pretty important series this weekend with Florida State, ranked No. 2 in the country. The Jackets are tied for third in the Coastal Division at 6-6 and are 19-11 overall. They’ve won four of the last five but again will be without No. 2 starter Matthew Grimes and closer Luke Bard. Freshman pitcher Cole Pitts will get his first weekend start of his career on Sunday.
“I think it can be a turning point in our season, really,” third baseman Sam Dove said. “That’s what we’re looking to do. They’re obviously one of the top teams in the nation. It’s going to be good for our guys. Hopefully, we can step up.”
Coach Danny Hall will be honored Saturday night prior to the 6 p.m. start. The first 1,000 fans will get t-shirts and there will be a $1,000 prize pack giveaway during the game. All three games will be on ESPN3.com. Sunday’s game will also be on CSS. Former football player Roddy Jones will be providing analysis on WREK 91.1 for all three games. Jones was drafted out of high school and played one season for the Tech baseball team.
Golfer James White has been named one of five finalists for the Byron Nelson Award, chosen annually by the Golf Coaches Association of America.
The award, given to a senior, considers a player’s entire career, character, integrity and citizenship. White was a first-team All-American last year as well as ACC golf scholar-athlete of the year. Tech has had two previous winners of the award, Troy Matteson in 2003 and Roberto Castro in 2007. The winner will be named April 19.
The golf team will be at the Gary Koch Invitational Saturday and Sunday in Tampa.
Thanks for reading.
Ken Sugiura, Georgia Tech blog