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Sports

April 24, 2014

VA survives first day

CENTRAL HIGH — Alec Richardson is making a run at becoming Velma-Alma baseball’s Reggie Jackson.

Two times in Thursday’s 12-11 win, he was put into a pressure-packed situation. Both times he came through for the Comets (11-15), who secured their place in Friday’s district final with the victory. First-year coach Colt Allison said it was a glowing achievement for a team that has been under .500 since losing five of its first six games.

“It means a lot to this program,” Allison said. “Our kids have been resilient all year long. We’ve been down in probably over half our games early, and we’ve been able to battle back.”

Cue Richardson, who had an RBI single to tie the game at 8-8 in the sixth and a walk-off single in the seventh. Even after missing a bunt sign that caused Colby Martin to be thrown out at home in the sixth, Richardson still provided the moments of greatness Velma-Alma needed. Allison took the blame for the sign on himself but said the ability for Richardson to shrug it off showed his toughness.

“Our rule is don’t step in the box until you know the sign, and I didn’t make sure he knew the sign,” Allison said. “He bounced back and came up with an RBI base hit there.”

In the final inning, Richardson was set up to save the day again. He forgot about the mistake he had made earlier and focused on what he needed to do to win his team the game.

“Whenever you mess up, you can’t take it to heart,” Richardson said. “It makes you feel good (to come through). We fought really hard.”

Velma-Alma will play Central High in a best of three series that started Thursday night. The first game ran past the Duncan Banner’s publication deadline, but the second will be on Friday.

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