RICHLANDS, Va. – One day after leading Richlands to the Class 2 state championship with a 1-0 victory over Madison County, Mackenzie Osborne was pitching for a travel ball team in Roanoke.
Members of the Virginia Tech coaching staff, including second year head coach Pete D’Armour, were there to watch.
They liked what they saw.
“He goes up there and watches and he calls me after watching her for one inning and said, ‘Coach, where has she been because we have got to have Mac,’” Richlands head coach Ronnie Davis said.
They got their girl.
Osborne, who has led Richlands to the last three Class 2 state championship games, winning it all this season, has verbally committed to continue her education and softball career at Virginia Tech.
“It is close to home so family can come and watch the games,” said Osborne, who was 22-3 with 316 strikeouts this season for the Blue Tornado, earning VHSL Class 2 state player of the year honors. “It is a very top school for education and sports.
“It just kind of felt like home. I liked the feeling, great coaches, great staff. They finished in the top 25 this year for softball and I just feel like I can go there and succeed and win and hopefully go to the World Series.”
Virginia Tech has been there before, advancing to Oklahoma City in 2008. They had a terrific 2019 campaign, finishing with a terrific 47-11 record, winning the ACC’s Coastal Division and regular season title and advancing to the NCAA regionals for the first time since 2015.
“They are definitely not satisfied with that and I look for big things out of them,” Davis said. “I look for Tech to be in Oklahoma City in the next few years.”
Davis expects Osborne to be part of that success.
“I think she will fit in fine there,” Davis said. “As much as she has improved over the last couple of years and how hard she has worked, it has just been one of her goals to play Division I.
“I know when she went up there for a visit she loved the campus, loved Coach Pete and the rest of the assistant coaches. She felt like it was home.”
Davis said Virginia Tech contacted him prior to the Class 2 semifinals with Page County, asking if Richlands had anyone they might be interested in.
He didn’t hesitate.
“I said Mac Osborne,” Davis said. “I didn’t hear anything from them after the game or Friday after we beat Madison.”
He received a call on Saturday morning from Virginia Tech assistant coach Kiran Kumar, looking for information on Osborne, with hopes of talking with her. Davis told her who she was playing for and where.
“It was a pretty neat deal. They liked her,” Davis said. “They loved the way she played softball, and, as we know, they think she is an outstanding young woman and that is what they liked. They liked the work ethic, she has got a 4.0 [grade point average]. She is going to fit in great at Tech.”
Osborne also received interest from numerous other Division I schools, including East Tennessee State, but was quickly hooked on Virginia Tech, adding that education came first in her decision.
“I had visits set up to tour, but once I went to Virginia Tech I just kind of knew that is where I wanted to go,” said Osborne, who plans to pursue a career in the medical field.
Davis wasn’t surprised she found a college home.
“I know we went up to some games at Tech, she has been to camp at Tech and Coach Pete and the assistant coaches just made her feel comfortable. She liked what they said,” Davis said. “We have talked about it the last two or three years about where she was going to go.
“I said you will know when you go to campus and it feels like home to you and you will feel comfortable and she really did at Tech. I just really appreciate that the coaches at Blacksburg gave her a chance.”
Osborne isn’t finished at Richlands just yet. With her future secure, the goal ahead is another state championship.
“That is going to be our goal when softball season begins again,” Davis said. “She will play volleyball and she will play softball up through November. You have so many kids that let it drag on, but she has got it done where she can relax now.
“She knows she is going to be a Hokie and she can enjoy her senior year and doesn’t have to worry about that recruiting process any longer.”
That is just how she wanted it too.
“It is a weight put off my shoulders so I can just focus on getting better and ready for the upcoming season,” said Osborne, who also batted .432 with two home runs and 22 RBIs for the Blues. “I am kind of excited for it to start, but not for it to end.
“I don’t want it to get here too soon, but I wish it was softball season again.”