Jason Richman pitched last Wednesday morning in a Southern Conference tournament-opening loss against Appalachian State. Later that night, Richman learned that his mother had died.
Richman did all he really could do for the rest of the week. He pitched again. And again. And again.
Richman pitched in six games over five days — including a 4 -inning start on Saturday in the second game of a doubleheader — and he was named the tournament’s Most Outstanding Player after helping the Eagles win the 2014 Southern Conference championship.
Richman threw 206 pitches in 13 innings over six games. He struck out 14 batters and allowed one earned run.
“It was so well-deserved,” GSU left fielder Stryker Brown said about Richman winning the award. “It was good to see him earn that honor after what he went through, but he deserved it. I mean, he kept us in a lot of games that we wouldn’t have been in if it wasn’t for him. It was incredible. I‘ve never seen anything like it. It’s amazing.”
The funeral was Monday morning. The whole team, having arrived back in Statesboro on Sunday night after winning the tournament, loaded up on a bus Monday morning to go to Atlanta and show their support for Richman at the funeral.
“We loaded that bus at 5:45 a.m. on Monday morning, and those guys were ready to go. There was no hesitation for them to get up and get ready to go. He’s been there for his team, and his team is there for him, too,” GSU coach Rodney Hennon said.
“It showed him, in a way he could see and touch, how much we care about him,” Brown added. “He’s family to us, so if something like that happens, it’s as if we lost a family member of our own. To see a brother who we care about tremendously have to go through that, and to see his family have to go through something like that, it’s a tough moment. We all felt the need to be there to support him. To love on him and to do everything we could to help him and his family get through this tough time.”
“He wanted to stay (to pitch in the tournament) because we’re his second family,” pitching coach B.J. Green said. “As family, we definitely needed to be there to support him. He needed to look out there and see us in the crowd.”