Jailyn Ford has been spending the summer pitching for her National Pro Fastpitch team, but she will soon be heading to Japan.
The former Bath County High School and James Madison softball star is in her second season with the Akron Racers. The NPF season began in June, with the postseason set for Aug. 17-20.
Akron is not Ford’s only team. She made her Japan Softball League debut earlier this year, pitching for Honda Reverta from late February through early June. That league has been on a break for Japan’s rainy season, but Ford will rejoin the team in a few weeks when the season resumes for another three months.
“It was great to be able to play at an international level with a lot of the great American players and Japanese players,” Ford said.
Ford, who lived in Moka City, Japan, was one of two Americans on the Honda squad. Life in Japan took some getting used to.
“I read up on as much as I could about it … but it’s a lot different once you get there,” she said. “For the whole first month, we were kind of in shock.”
Meals were an adjustment.
“They eat rice and soup for every meal — and salad pretty much, even for breakfast,” she said. “The quality of the food is honestly a lot better than American food; it’s not as processed. A lot of it has some good flavor. I’m just not a fan of the seafood and the sushi.”
She has learned only a little Japanese. The coaches did not speak English, though, so Ford relied upon a translator to communicate with them.
Ford earned All-America honors as a JMU senior in 2016, when she helped the Dukes reach the NCAA Super Regionals. She then turned pro, going 9-9 with a 3.69 ERA for Akron last summer. The left-hander underwent surgery on her pitching wrist last winter to repair torn cartilage.
Ford entered Wednesday with a 4-3 record for Akron this season. She has a 2.45 ERA. She was named the pitcher of the week in the six-team league earlier this season.
“I’ve been working with my coaches on developing more spin with my pitches,” Ford said. “I got a lot of playing time last year, so a lot of the teams know what I … throw.”
Radford ace Zack Ridgely underwent Tommy John surgery in late June and will miss the 2018 baseball season, said Highlanders coach Joe Raccuia.
“It definitely adds some stress to our next season,” Raccuia said.
Ridgely was 7-5 with a 2.84 ERA as a junior last season, when he was named the Big South pitcher of the year. He hurt his pitching elbow during the Big South tournament and missed the NCAA tournament. The injury turned out to be a torn ulnar collateral ligament. Famed surgeon Dr. James Andrews performed Ridgely’s operation in Florida.
Had he not been hurt, Ridgely might have been chosen in the Major League Baseball draft two months ago. He plans to pitch for Radford in 2019 as a fifth-year senior, said Raccuia.
Former Virginia Tech point guard Seth Allen said he has signed with Atomeromu SE Paks, a pro team in Hungary.
Allen, who helped the Hokies make the NCAA Tournament last season, will head overseas Saturday.
“I’m ready,” Allen said. “I’ve been working out every day.”
n The other senior star on last year’s Hokies men’s basketball squad, Zach LeDay, has signed with a pro team in Israel, according to Eurobasket.com.
n Former Virginia Tech women’s basketball player Sidney Cook has signed with a team in Poland, Tech announced. Cook averaged 12.7 points as a senior last season.
n Former Hokies women’s soccer star Murielle Tiernan has signed with a pro team in Sweden. Tiernan concluded her Tech career last fall as the program’s all-time scoring leader.
Toxicology tests have determined the drugs that were in the system of former Christiansburg High School and Virginia Tech wrestler Cody Gardner when he died in December.
The cause of death was combined heroin, cocaine and fentanyl toxicity, according to the medical examiner’s office in Roanoke. Fentanyl is an opioid.
Gardner’s death in December at the age of 28 was due to an apparent drug overdose, the Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office had said. The autopsy report was not finalized until the spring.
The manner of death was accidental, according to the medical examiner’s office.
The sheriff’s office determined that the drugs had been obtained in New Jersey. Gardner had been living in New Jersey but had returned to Montgomery County for a visit.