By Mike Kinney
A recent baseball tournament in Southern California featuring some of the nation’s best high school players included two budding stars from Richmond.
Isaiah Landry, 16, junior at El Cerrito High, and Derrick Bedford, 15, a junior at St. Mary’s High, were among the over 150 student athletes selected to compete in the prestigious Area Code Baseball Games, a three-day event that attracts scouts from all 30 Major League teams as well as NCAA coaches. Taking place at Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles, the showcase “serves as the beginning of a yearlong interview process culminating with the Major League Baseball Draft the following summer,” organizers said.
Landry, a rightfielder, and Bedford, a shortstop, were invited based upon their reputation and performance. Their names were passed along to a pro scout, and then after showcasing their skills, they were invited to the Area Code tournament to represent the Northern California region.
The tournament was jam-packed for Landry and Bedford, lifetime best friends who played in the Northern California region that was represented by the Oakland A’s.
“On day one they met with an Oakland A’s coach, picked up their equipment, got their game schedule for the rest of their days there, did workouts, played ball games and took advantage of meeting and talking with the coaches from MLB teams like the San Diego Padres, Milwaukee Brewers and New York Yankees,” said Rev. Raymond Landry of Independent Holiness Church, who is Landry’s father and who coached youth baseball teams for over 20 years in Richmond and West County.
The final two days consisted of more training and games. Scouts will review video and statistics of their performances and “they will now be on an MLB watch list,” Rev. Landry said.
Landry and Bedford, who also perform well in the classroom, know that talent alone only gets you so far in baseball and in life.
“You have to work hard, very hard,” the young Landry said. “You must work harder to be the best in life. I like to impress upon my peers about always being motivated and always try to meet your expectations in life. My ultimate goal is to play on a Major League Baseball team and make it a long-term career.”
Bedford echoed the need for a strong work ethic: “In baseball with competition anything can happen….You have to be prepared to work at it and be goal oriented in order to achieve. My plans in the future are to go to a Division 1 university and eventually get drafted into the Major Leagues.”
For Rev. Landry, who coached the pair for one year, seeing his son and his best friend play at the Area Code games was a moment of great pride.
“They both work hard in school and church,” he said, calling them “outstanding students” of high character.