When Jake Richardson was in the first grade, his parents were told he had CAPD (central auditory processing disorder), which affects 5 percent of school-age children. Those who have it can’t process the information they hear in the same way as others because their ears and brain don’t fully coordinate.
This is his second season playing baseball for Valley after sitting out a season of sports to concentrate on his classwork. The
6-foot-3, 180-pound Richardson has hit seven home runs in his last nine games for the 8-10 Vikings. Overall he is batting .407 (24 for 59) with 21 RBIs and 24 runs scored. After his junior year, Richardson — who also is a part-time pitcher — was chosen the team’s Most Dominant Hurler. He also won the Silver Slugger award for having the biggest offensive impact on the team.
How does CAPD affect your playing baseball? Coach Morris says you have made a lot of adjustments and you are “listening well this year, hitting 150 points higher with fewer strikeouts.”
It’s another challenge, not a disability. It’s a different way I learn and accomplish things. When I was younger it affected me, but once you get older and mature you grow out of it. DePaul (he attended The DePaul School for five years) helped me the way I needed to learn. I take normal classes.
Your mother says baseball is the motivation that pushes you to keep your grades up. Do you agree?
It is definitely motivating.
What’s been your biggest thrill in baseball this season?
When we played Butler. My buddy, Bradley Ferriell, plays third base for Butler. He hit a home run against us. I was the first one to bat in the next inning, and I hit a home run. When I got to third I told him, “Mine went farther than yours.” He just laughed.
Where did you learn to play baseball?
At Valley Sports and in AAU ball. I was on the Valley Sports team two years after coach Dan Roach’s all-star team won the (2002) World Series. I can tell you definitely why they won. He had an all-around solid team.
Why is center field your favorite position?
I can cover a big area pretty fast. Playing shortstop wasn’t that tough. I had my highlights of ups and downs there. I feel more comfortable and natural in center field.
How have you done as a pitcher?
I’ve pitched four games and won two. Against Moore I pitched four innings of one-hit, one-run ball (he struck out eight), then they finally scored a run in the 11th.
When you want to have fun away from school and baseball, what do you do?
I like to play golf at Bobby Nichols’ course or at Sun Valley. I like to fish in the Ohio River or in any pond or at Dale Hollow in Tennessee. I used to love motocross (dirt bike racing). I don’t do it anymore because a lot of my buddies were getting hurt.
Are you going to the Kentucky Derby on Saturday?
No, but I’m going to the Oaks (today). My dad always has a big tailgate party there. I’ll probably go to a friend’s house and watch the Derby. They’ll also have a party there.
— Bob White
JACOB RICHARDSON UP CLOSE
* School: Valley
* Year: Senior
* Sport: Baseball
* Student/athlete: Jacob, better known as Jake, has a 2.7 GPA and is scheduled to graduate June 6. His favorite class has been English under Leslie Mears “because she’s easy to work with.” He also has worked on Valley’s yearbook, heading the sports coverage.
* Family: Jake lives with his mother, Tammy, father, Lee, and sister, Rachel, 21. Rachel played three sports at Holy Cross and is a student at Jefferson Community College.
* Coach Greg Morris: “We tried Jake at shortstop this year, but that wasn’t his position. He’s a heck of an outfielder. He just glides to the ball and gets a good jump on it. He has Division I talent. Jake hits the ball effortlessly with power. His swing is much better when he extends his arms and drives the ball. When he tries too hard, he overswings.”