Baseball is taking Jared Drayton back to Alabama.
It will keep John Cheatwood in Indiana.
Both Richmond standouts will continue their baseball careers at the next level. Drayton has verbally committed to Division I Alabama State, while Cheatwood has done the same to St. Joseph’s College, the Division II school in Rensselaer.
“It says a lot about the work habit of the kids,” said RHS coach Tyler Lairson. “They’ve had some success throughout their summers and had success in front of those guys and they liked them. They felt like they would be good fits for their programs.
“I think it says a lot about the type of talent these kids have.”
Drayton, who moved to Richmond for his senior year, will pitch. Cheatwood is a catcher.
Alabama State is in Montgomery, about 21/2 hours away from Drayton’s former home in Mobile.
“I’m very excited,” said Drayton, who also plays third base for the Red Devils. “Alabama State was pretty much the first school that showed interest in me and the first school to believe in me. That gave me a lot of confidence.”
Alabama State is a member of the Southwestern Athletic Conference. The Hornets were 30-16 heading into Wednesday’s game with UAB.
“They love his arm,” Lairson said. “They see a kid who will continue to work and get stronger and has electric stuff. Jared takes a tremendous approach to the game.”
Drayton plans to major in business administration with a minor in international business.
“I really credit all the coaches I’ve had and the coaches I have now for my success,” Drayton said.
Cheatwood said he got a good feel for St. Joseph’s as his future baseball home. He plans to major in biology through a physical therapy track.
The Pumas play in the Great Lakes Valley Conference. They are 24-22-1.
“It’s a beautiful school and I love the baseball program there,” Cheatwood said.
As a junior, Cheatwood said it was the “perfect time” to commit, allowing him to concentrate on baseball.
“It takes the weight off your shoulders,” he said.
Added Lairson: “It’s good that he has that opportunity in front of him. Hopefully he can relax and continue to work and get better and stronger and go in there ready to compete.”
Richmond junior Kyler Helms gave his verbal commitment in January to pitch at Southern Illinois.
Richmond is 9-8. The Red Devils play in the first day of the NCC Tournament this Saturday. The tournament continues May 18.
“Hopefully with those things being settled, that stress is off of them and they can continue to work and we can finish out our season on a strong note,” Lairson said.
Josh Chapin: (765) 973-4463 email@example.com or twitter.com/JoshChapinPI