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Alabama State center fielder Richard Amion scored twice on Sunday to give Alabama State the series’ victory over Alcorn State after splitting a doubleheader on Saturday.
The two runs give Amion 53 for the year, tops among all Division I baseball players in America.
“It feels great to be at the top of the list,” he said. “Hopefully, I’ll stay at the top of the list. When I get on base, I don’t have to steal as many bases as last year because I know the big dogs behind me are going to drive me in.”
Amion didn’t get here by accident. The leadoff hitter for the Hornets has worked hard off the field and studied his opposing pitchers to become a well-rounded hitter.
“The difference this year is every morning I wake up and get a lift in (the weight room),” Amion said. “Game day, non-game day, I get an early-morning tee after I lift and at night after practice I get extra work in, me and some of the guys. I think that’s the biggest difference this year.
“We all play with more confidence. The more work you put in, the more you get out of it.”
Alabama State coach Mervyl Melendez said Amion’s rise to the top of scoring producers actually started last year when the coach noticed his leadoff hitter getting a little more aggressive on the bases. Against Samford last week, for example, Amion scored from first on a routine two-out single to right field, beating the throw home to tie the game.
“When he’s on base and a guy behind him gets a base hit, he’s always thinking third base and possibly home plate,” Melendez said. “He’s anticipating scoring on a play where he should not score, so he never really slows down.”
Of course, it all starts at the plate. Amion said he enjoys getting deep into a count with opposing pitchers, crowding the plate to get hit or earn a walk.
“Amion has done a much better job this year because of his approach at the plate,” Melendez said. “He’s going middle-away at the plate, staying inside the baseball, and has been able to get on base. Now the difference between us this year and last year is that we haven’t had to steal a lot of bases. The guys behind him are doing a very good job and getting him in scoring position and getting the big base hit for him to score.”
This story was originally published at: http://www.montgomeryadvertiser.com/article/20140414/SPORTS0403/304140008