Ryan Allard gives senior goals, looks ahead to Virginia Tech

Published 5:07 pm Friday, December 15, 2023

Considered one of the top baseball prospects along the East Coast, Class of 2024 athlete Ryan Allard from Central High had opportunities to continue playing the sport he loves at several different universities.

Ultimately for Allard, it boiled down to the comfort level of an in-state school and coaching staff that prioritized him from the start of his recruitment.

On Nov. 29, the 6-foot-2, 205-pound right-handed pitcher signed a National Letter of Intent to play his college baseball with the Hokies of Virginia Tech.

“They first noticed me when I was at a tournament with my travel team, the Dirtbags,” said Allard, who had given a verbal commitment to Virginia Tech during the summer of his sophomore year. “They invited me to their own camp and then offered me a few days later.”

A former Lunenburg County Youth Baseball League All-Star, Allard throws a fastball that has been clocked in at 91 miles per hour. He’s also just scratching the surface of his potential as a pitcher.

“I’d say the best part of my game is being able to keep hitters off balance and being able to locate all of my pitches,” believes Allard, who plans to study Human Nutrition Foods and Exercise while in Blacksburg.

WHAT SET VIRGINIA TECH APART 

There were other ACC programs that Allard strongly considered, such as NC State and North Carolina. He also had two other in-state schools, Radford and VCU, high on his list. However, the vibe with the Hokies was different.

“What sets Virginia Tech apart from any other program in my opinion is the coaching staff. They are all very knowledgeable about the game, showed a lot of interest in me as a player and are always trying to help me get better,” commented Allard, who felt like an integral part of Tech’s recruiting class.

“What they liked most about me as a player is my ability to control the pace of the game and keep my composure on the mound when things aren’t going my way. Their plan and my plan right now is to try and keep getting better every day. I’m also looking to keep adding on velocity on my pitches.”

Coach John Szefc was hired by Virginia Tech in June of 2017 and has over 500 victories in his college coaching career, which included previous stops at Marist and Maryland. The Hokies finished 30-23 overall in 2023 after posting a 45-14 mark in 2022 with a trip to the NCAA Super Regionals. That season, they were ranked as high as No. 2 in the nation.

Ryan Allard aims for POTY

Over the previous three seasons, Allard has 116 strikeouts for the Chargers. He’s been an All-James River District and All-Region selection, aiming for even bigger goals this season in terms of All-State recognition and perhaps Player of the Year honors at the district, regional and Class 2 levels now that he’s fully healthy.

“This senior year, I hope to get my velo (velocity) back up to where it should be,” Allard stated. “I lost a little bit last year due to some injuries, but I hope to get my fastball back up to the low 90’s and finish the season with Player of the Year.”