Story by Chris Graham
Angela Tincher has always been able to bring it – but as the Virginia Tech sophomore has learned the part of the game that Yogi Berra figured was somewhere in the area of 45 percent mental, she’s become virtually unhittable.
“The more I pitch, the more the scouting reports get out there. I have to know that people are going to expect certain things. I really have to mix it up and not get into too much of a pattern,” Tincher told the “ACC Nation” radio show last week.
Heading into this week’s ACC tournament, Tincher has compiled a sterling 24-6 record while pitching in 39 of the Hokies’ 54 games. She has also struck out an otherworldly 444 batters in 220 innings en route to posting a miniscule 0.76 earned-run average.
And she’s not all that willing to share how she does it, either. Asked to provide a scouting report of her game, Tincher sounded like she’d been queried on a national-security matter.
“I don’t know that I want to give that information out,” she said, laughing.
“I guess people know that my strong pitches are my up and my down,” Tincher eventually offered. “To be a little vague, that’s what they might look for to try to keep from swinging at. And I’m known to be a little wild sometimes. That’s something that I’ve been working on – so it hasn’t been a real problem lately.”
Tincher has been a little wild this season – uncorking 30 wild pitches and hitting 11 batters. But that’s not entirely a bad thing for a strikeout pitcher known to come close to 70 miles per hour on the radar gun.
“It can help – it can keep them off balance. Sometimes I let go of a pitch, and it’s not at all what I meant to throw, but it still works. Sometimes it does work to my advantage sometimes,” Tincher said.
As to her ability to pitch essentially every day, when necessary, Tincher said it is the result of hard work in the offseason in the weight room.
“A lot of it comes from the strength and the conditioning that we do in the offseason – really getting into shape,” Tincher said. “It’s hard at this point in the season – because you’re battling through nagging injuries and stuff like that. You really just have to keep up with all that stuff – you can’t let little things go for very long, because with the innings that we play, it can turn into something bigger.”