Nick Biddison has seen it all during his time at Virginia Tech from the early rebuild days of the John Szefc era to newfound heights that the Hokies hosting a regional for only the second time in school history while receiving a program best #4 national seed.
Biddison has not only stepped into a valuable leadership role this year, but he's also taken his game to new heights with full season career highs in batting average (.342), home runs (10), RBIs (39), and stolen bases (18) while also being that ideal leadoff hitter with a strong .425 on-base percentage.
This came after injuries in part derailed his 2021 season where he hit below .240 over 26 starts while also struggling some this summer in the prestigious Cape Cod Summer Baseball League.
Virginia Tech head coach John Szefc credits in part the struggles that Biddison had last season and in Cape Cod last summer to helping his long term development and breakout this year.
"That's exactly what he has. He's an older guy who went through some surgeries, didn't have the year he wanted last year, didn't have the summer he wanted to have in the Cape (Cod Summer Baseball League). Like Cade Hunter, he took a lot away from of the struggles of that place. Cape Cod to hitters is like the ACC a lot and I think he came back a better player for it," Szefc said.
Biddison also reflected back on the struggles he had last season after coming back off his first collegiate injury and his struggles to find his rhythm even though he was fully healthy that held him back some in 2021.
"Last year, I had an injury. I came back and I was definitely struggling. I never had that in my life before. I had a surgery on my right shoulder back in high school, but I hadn't had anything in college. It was a hard coming back especially when we were having the success that we were having last year. Obviously, I didn't really like watching it sitting on my couch. I wanted to get back as quick as possible. Not going to say I wasn't ready, I was definitely ready when I played last year, but things weren't clicking. I was trying to have to figure things out day by day," Biddison said.
However, Biddison's experience in the Cape Cod began his return not only to form but to reaching new heights as he learned through his struggles and developed into a better player. That combined with the constant support and reassurance from John Szefc and his staff paid off once the 2022 season started and he was able to find that rhythm again.
"Going to the Cape, I honestly struggled there to but being around guys that were the best guys in the country. You see how they work and you learn a lot from them. And just playing baseball, it was only a matter of time before it started clicking again. And then sure enough finally, it started clicking at the beginning of the year, and having the coaches always constantly in the ear like 'hey, you're going to get there, you're going to get there, just believing in yourself,' that really makes the most difference," Biddison said.
One benefit as well for Biddison this year is he has also been able to primarily play the outfield instead of his impressive defensive versatility having to be constantly utilized. Though Tech still will use him at first base some especially with Carson Jones' recent surge, Szefc credits greater positional stability helping Biddison perform at a high level all-around while also providing valuable balance between righties and lefties at the top of their batting order.
"We're lucky enough to allow him to play the outfield and hit. So we're not asking him, right now at least, to play the infield, we're not asking him to catch. We're trying to let him do his thing out there, and he's very good in the outfield, and he kind of sets the table for us offensively. He gives good at-bats. When they bring in a lefty to face our lefties, you got to run through him and (Tanner) Schobel from the right side. That's difficult," Szefc said.
Even with him primarily playing in the outfield, Nick Biddison can be relied on to play high level defense all over the field which has include first base recently. That has allowed Tech to keep the very recently hot-hitting outfielder Carson Jones in the lineup without having to make defensive sacrifices elsewhere in trying to have their nine best hitters starting.
That combination of versatility helps make Biddison a future pro baseball player in the eyes of John Szefc even if he may not need to be as versatile in the pros.
"He's a pro guy, I don't know exactly what it will be defensively, he'll probably play in the outfield. I've said this a million times, but he's the most versatile player I've ever coached defensively. He's the rare guy that can play center field or catch in the ACC. You would have to look long and far to find a guy who can do that, and hit at the top. He's probably our best runner too. There's a lot of stuff that guy can to. He's experienced. He's an older guy. He's dealt with the ups and downs of it, he's kind of lived to tell," Szefc said.
For all of his success at the plate and all of his quality defensive versatility, his experience also remains just as valuable for the Hokies. Though Biddison may not need to be a vocal leader, he feels confident in his ability to speak up, provide insights, and most importantly, be a leader by example who models what it looks like to lead by example for the rest of his team, creating more leaders by example.
"I definitely think that I have a voice, I guess if that's the right way to put it. I really just think it's doing stuff the right way. We got so many other guys around us, I don't think we like to have one set leader, it's just 'hey, everyone lead by example and push each other to be the best version of themselves'. I guess I could say I have a leadership role being one of the older guys, but it's more like people kind of trust me, and I've been through it. But everybody is kind of a leader on this team especially when you have guys who are doing well, and I think success kind of brings leaders but it's good, we have good personalities," Biddison said.
Star shortstop Tanner Schobel also sees how Biddison has leaned on his experience to provide valuable player leadership for the Hokies this season both on and off the field.
"I think (Nick Biddison) does a really good job of telling people what to do if they are unsure and leading them on the field. I think he's more of a leader off the field, personally. From freshman, sophomore, junior to fifth year, he kind of brings everybody together. So that's why the culture of our team is because I think he's a big part of bringing everyone together," Schobel said.
Biddison may not be a future first round pick like Gavin Cross, a freshman ace like Drue Hackenberg, or a Golden Spikes award nominee like Tanner Schobel; but the fourth-year junior is proving just as valuable with his leadoff hitting, defensively versatility, and leadership for #4 Virginia Tech.
And as the postseason arrives for the Hokies, Nick Biddison is ready to make sure that his team holds themselves to their high expectations for themselves regardless of the expectations from those outside of the Virginia Tech clubhouse.
"Everyone has expectations, but we have expectations for ourselves. That's the only expectations that we really care about. Sticking to our daily routine, our daily practices, and playing the same game that we've always played all year."