Blanchard hopes to improve

Published 9:33 pm Saturday, July 29, 2017

Former Nansemond River High School baseball standout Michael Blanchard has his eyes set on improving his game.

Blanchard came off of his first year of college baseball this spring. He saw time as a pitcher on the mound for Old Dominion University. ODU went 37-21 as a team this year while Blanchard made an appearance in 20 of those games. He pitched a record of 1-3 with six starts.

Blanchard said his biggest adjustment coming into a Division I baseball program was the training. The level of preparation is vastly different than it is on the high school level.

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“In high school, everything was easier,” he said. “In college, you are pushed to the next level by your teammates and coaches.”

It was a good experience for Blanchard to get his first year out of the way. However, he wasn’t entirely happy with how he performed. He felt he left something on the table. The Monarch believes there was more he could have done in games to help his team win.

In the last month of the season, Blanchard became the Sunday starter after a teammate was sidelined due to injury. Blanchard’s first career win came against Rice in a relief role, and he finished his freshman season with a 5.81 ERA. He feels his coaches were confident with how he performed his first season.

“I feel like I made the most of my opportunities,” Blanchard said. “The coaches were happy with how I played, but they still believe I can improve. I want to improve as well. Not just one particular thing but everything.”

At the end of the day, Blanchard wants to keep improving. He seeks to become a complete player with multiple strengths in his game. If his high school career is any indication of what Blanchard can become at ODU, his future is bright. He sees big improvements from himself in his sophomore year.

In his time at Nansemond River, Blanchard was an all-conference, all-region and all-state selection. During his senior year, he helped lead the Warriors to a state championship and became the 5A State Player of the Year. He also went 10-2 on the mound and struck out 75 batters.