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Baseball Players Helping To Guide Student Athletes

By RENALDO DORSETT Sports Reporter rdorsett@tribunemedia.net Giving back to the community and helping to guide a young generation of student athletes remains paramount for two Bahamian baseball players who have reached the pinnacle of their profession. Antoan Richardson and Albert Cartwright have been making the rounds at various media outlets and at local schools relating a message of discipline, dedication and the importance of education to students. The duo appeared at LW Young Junior High and Government High School this week. "They say manners will take you places, well education will take you places as well. It's good to have that talent but also knowledge. Don't take it for granted, work hard. When I was in high school in the Bahamas, I didn't take it as seriously as I needed to take it to get ahead. "I ended up being a 4.0 student when I went off to school, finished as the salutatorian at my high school, went to college, made the Dean's List with a 3.5. Education was a huge part of my success and when I got into the real world people respected me for these accomplishments so much more," Richardson said in his message to the students at LW Young. "The Bahamas has done a lot for me. I feel blessed and I realize this thing is so much bigger than me and my accomplishments. It's important to come back and encourage because I want them to come back and have the same opportunities I had or even more opportunities and to understand the importance for them when they have their chance to succeed in this life to be able to come back and do it for other children as well. When you're young you have to live and you have to learn, but I think the ones that sit here and take the advice from people that have been through it before, they just give themselves a headstart." Originally drafted by the Baltimore Orioles in the 27th round of the 2001 amateur draft, Richardson decided that he wasn't quite ready and he stayed at American Heritage School in Delray Beach, Florida, until he was drafted for the third time. This time by the San Francisco Giants in the 35th round in 2005. He went on to play in the pipelines with both the Giants and the Atlanta Braves until the Braves called him up to the MLB, where he made his debut on September 4, 2011. After being released out of his free agency agreement on November 2, Richardson signed with the Orioles as a free agent on December 16 where he will be starting his pro journey all over again. Cartwright stressed the importance of giving the students an example to follow and the belief that someone who once sat in their seats could reach the professional level. "It's important to come back and just give back. Try to make them feel special, let them know that it's possible to take their dreams to another place. Just for us to come here and give back and tell them our story gives them something to believe in and a reason for them to believe in themselves," he said. "Coming up as a young boy from Freedom Farm, I wasn't always the best player. But I've had the hard work and the drive to play this game to make it to the next level." Cartwright was looking to make his breakthrough in Major League Baseball last year but an Achilles injury prevented him from rising through the ranks in the Philadelphia Phillies organisation. Having overcome what he called just a "setback" or a "speed bump" in the road, Cartwright said he is working towards an appearance at mini-camp on March 1.

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