The Duncan Banner
Velma-Alma junior Ty Richardson flew out of the batters box like he had just hit a double in the gap. Really, it was just a lazy pop fly to right field, but because of his hustle he ended up on second anyway.
The Bray-Doyle outfielder dropped it, reverberating the point that coach Joe Matthews made earlier this week. The Bray-Doyle outfield needs to get better.
With Richardson on second and one out in the bottom of the seventh, junior Kelton Brown hit a screaming line drive for a single. Velma-Alma coach Colt Allison didn’t hesitate and waved Richardson to go for home. With a nifty dodge, the junior slid around the tag from Bray-Doyle catcher Greg Perez. The Comets (4-11) had won the first round of the Jake Leffler Wooden Bat Tournament 4-3 over the rival Donkeys (3-9).
“I just knew I had better run or I would be out,” Richardson said. “It means a lot for (coach Allison) to have that confidence in me.”
After the game, Allison was enamored with the effort. He said that Richardson making it to second on the dropped popup was the difference in the game.
“That’s something you need to do,” Allison said. “We haven’t been doing that and it’s cost us earlier in the season... That was a mature play on his part and then we had timely hitting by Kelton Brown to drive him in.”
It was Brown’s first walk-off hit of his career. With a wooden bat in his hand, per tournament rules, he said he just stepped up like he felt he should, given that he is one of the few upperclassmen on the team. He also had a couple of important catches in centerfield also.
“He’s just a calm kid,” Allison said. “I don’t think his pulse ever raises. He’s stays calm all the time. I don’t think he felt any pressure there. He just expected to hit the ball.”
The Comets played Elmore City-Pernell after the win, but the game ran well after The Duncan Banner’s publication time. Regardless of that outcome, Allison said the win Thursday gave the team a lot of confidence.
“We were pretty resilient and battled through it,” Allison said. “I think we are slowly starting to mature.”