Prep Baseball Report

Richardson ‘Ready To Spread Wings’ At UMass-Amherst

Bruce Hefflinger
PBR New England Senior Writer

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Richardson ‘Ready To Spread Wings’ At UMass-Amherst

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Jaylon Richardson RHP / OF / Pingree School, MA / 2024

BOXFORD, Ma. - Pitching is one of the many things that Jaylon Richardson is looking forward to at Massachusetts-Amherst.

“I’ll bring a unique repertoire,” the senior at Pingree School said. “Coach Reynolds wants to change the culture of the program and I think I’ll be a super competitor for him and help bring UMass baseball to a different light. When I went there I saw a change in the program. I saw a ton of positives. To that I’ll bring an eagerness to get better.”

It was in the summer when playing with the Legends Expos that the 33rd-rated 2024 right-handed pitcher in Massachusetts caught the attention of UMass and head coach Matt Reynolds.

“He reached out to coach (Derek) January and said they were interested and wanted to come see me,” Richardson reflected. “They came out a few times in the summer to watch me pitch and by the end of summer wanted me to come on a visit. They offered and gave me a two-week window to make a decision. I only took four days to decide.”

After all, there was a lot that stood out about the university located less than two hours from Richardson’s home in Boxford

“Coach Reynolds is a great coach,” the 229th-ranked senior in New England said about the head coach who took over the program in the 2018 season. “He’s been trying to turn the program around and I want to be part of that. It’s a bigger school which is what I was looking for and it’s close to home. I like playing in New England and it’s in my price range. It checked all the boxes.”

The decision to reclassify proved helpful in making an impression on UMass-Amherst.

“Originally I was a ’23 grad but I lost exposure to Covid,” Richardson explained. “I talked to my coaches and they said if I was serious about going Division I, if I reclassified they could see me as a Division I recruit.

“I did a PBR to vindicate my numbers and hit 88 with my outfield velo,” the two-way prospect continued. “This most recent winter I did another PBR event and put up even better numbers hitting and pitching. I checked all the boxes that coach (Rich) Gilbride wanted. The numbers showed I was working hard and I’m happy PBR was seeing in me what I was seeing in myself.”

UMass certainly liked what they saw in the 5-10 165-pounder.

“They like my pitching range, I have four consistent pitches and also two more I’m developing,” Richardson related. “They like that I can mold my pitches. They really like my curveball and also like that I’ve only been training as a pitcher for a year-and-a-half so there’s a lot of upside to my projectability. Plus, I’ll only be training for baseball instead of baseball and football like now.”

Columbia and St. Michael’s College in Vermont were other schools that the 70th-ranked RHP in New England was considering before a commitment brought an end to his recruitment.

“It was definitely stressful,” Richardson said of his recruiting process. “When I reclassified I expected a ton of looks but didn’t because I took three weeks to rest my arm. My parents helped by telling me to be patient. When I got Division I looks they told me to take my time and that’s what I did.

“Most of the NESCAC schools like Tufts gave offers, some playing two sports. But then UMass came into the picture. When the feeling is right, the feeling is right, and that’s what happened.”

Putting more focus on pitching was another vital move by Richardson during his recruitment.

“The winter before last I only trained as an outfielder and hitter but in last winter’s workouts I pitched,” related Richardson, who credited Expos coaches Gilbride and January with playing a huge role in his development. “Without any pitching training I hit 83, so I pitched over the summer (of 2022) and also played outfield. The next winter I trained primarily as a pitcher and in two months got up to 88.”

While the 229th-ranked 2024 in New England will get an opportunity to hit and play outfield at UMass, it’s on the mound where he will primarily be, at least to start out.

“That’s why I got an offer,” pointed out Richardson about pitching.

A major in economics and possible minor in business are the plans for the 3.5 student.

“The alumni network there is really strong, that was another draw for me,” Richardson said.

It has the 31st-rated 2024 outfielder in New England excited about his future.

“Amherst is a really cool spot with a cool downtown,” Richardson concluded. “Football gets a good draw and basketball and hockey even better. I’m ready to spread my wings and enjoy college. My family went there and it’s a really cool vibe down there. It looks like a fun atmosphere.”

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