The Virginia Tech softball team is set to host an NCAA regional for the first time in program history thanks in part to the contributions of All-ACC first-team selection Emma Ritter. The sophomore outfielder leads the team’s eligible players in batting average (.406), runs (45), doubles (10), RBIs (37), total bases (92) and on-base percentage (.482).
A 41-7 record and an ACC regular-season championship earned the Hokies the No. 3 overall seed in the NCAA Tournament. Kentucky, Miami (Ohio) and Saint Francis (Pennsylvania) will join them in the Brownsburg regional starting Friday.
No. 3‼️@HokiesSoftball is a national seed and will host a regional for the first time in school history 🙌
📺: ESPN2 pic.twitter.com/iqI4Vo4DuP
— Virginia Tech Softball (@HokiesSoftball) May 15, 2022
In one year, Ritter went from being a .257 hitter to one of the nation’s most consistent batters. Not only does she get on base about half the time she steps to the plate, but Ritter has only been sent down on strikes three times in 138 at-bats this season.
Her breakout year comes after she made a concerted effort to focus less on her performance and more on using softball as a way to bring glory to God.
“Coming into this year, I was like, ‘You know what? I just need to stop trying to impress other people and stop trying to glorify those around me,'” she said recently on the Sports Spectrum Podcast. “I just need to use the gifts God has given me to go out there and play hard. And if that means having a good season, that means having a good season. And if it doesn’t, it doesn’t, you know? Sometimes God has a different plan for our lives.”
Ritter’s faith started to take off after watching a friend help her brother through his faith walk. Seeing the impact it had on her brother’s life made her want to dive deeper into her own relationship with God.
“We grew up in a Christian household, but after digging a little bit deeper and talking with my brother about it, and with my parents, it kind of opened my eyes to a whole new life outside of softball, and it just gives you so much more meaning in life,” she said on the podcast.
The Perryville, Maryland, native is an active member of Fellowship of Christian Athletes at Virginia Tech and has “Child of God” listed in her Instagram bio.
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Ritter and the Hokies are hoping to build off last season’s super regionals appearance, where they took the first game against UCLA before getting shut out in the next two. They will host the winner of the Gainsville regional if they are able to return to the super regionals.
As their quest for a national championship continues, the Hokies will keep savoring every moment of this remarkable season and enjoy getting to experience it together.
Good morning 😁 pic.twitter.com/hvKUOcCETZ
— Virginia Tech Softball (@HokiesSoftball) May 16, 2022
“This is only four years here, and I think that’s been a huge emphasis for everybody,” Ritter said on the podcast. “Let’s just play like it could be our last game. And I think that’s brought a lot more love for each other and for the sport itself.”
Virginia Tech plays Saint Francis at 2 p.m. ET Friday and will play at least once more Saturday. The Blacksburg regional concludes Sunday.
The full schedule of this weekend's 𝗕𝗹𝗮𝗰𝗸𝘀𝗯𝘂𝗿𝗴 𝗥𝗲𝗴𝗶𝗼𝗻𝗮𝗹 has been announced!
We'll see you this weekend 😏
— HokieSports (@hokiesports) May 16, 2022
– SS PODCAST: Virginia Tech softball star Emma Ritter on success, faith, identity
– Alabama star pitcher Montana Fouts leverages growing platform for God’s glory
– Oklahoma softball star Grace Lyons: ‘My goal is to glorify God’
– LSU softball star Ali Kilponen gets baptized: ‘Today I decided to clothe myself in Christ’
– SS PODCAST: Oklahoma asst. coach Jennifer Rocha on faith, leadership, winning titles
– SS PODCAST: Mississippi St. coach Samantha Ricketts on coaching for greater purpose