Memorial grad Madrid taking his talents to Central Florida
July 4, 2011 at 2:04 a.m.
Roman Madrid needs one class credit this summer at McLennan Community College. But he's taking two other classes so he can get ahead.
Madrid's progress in the classroom mirrors the strides he made on the field during the short time he spent in Waco.
The Memorial graduate led McLennan in saves with nine and earned first-team North Texas Junior College Athletic Conference honors before signing a letter-of-intent to play at Central Florida next season.
"I had a really good year," Madrid said. "Central Florida had been following me and calling my coaches. My numbers were good so they decided to offer me a scholarship."
Madrid began his college career at Texas A&M-Corpus Christi, where he was used as a pitcher and a catcher, the same positions he played in high school.
Madrid decided to transfer to McLennan after his freshman year where he became the team's closer.
"I was actually catching more than pitching," Madrid said of his freshman season at A&M-Corpus Christi. "I enjoyed my time in Corpus Christi. But I saw another path I could take and it worked out for the better."
Madrid played for the Victoria Generals last summer. Chris Clemons, who was the head coach of the Generals, is also the pitching coach at McLennan.
"When Roman is good, he's hard to hit," Clemons said. "He's become more consistent than when we had him in the summer. If he continues to improve, he'll be all right."
Madrid had a 3-2 record and a 2.89 ERA at McLennan. He appeared in 21 games and pitched 28 innings with 39 strikeouts.
Madrid credits Clemons for making him a more complete pitcher.
"I owe a lot to him," Madrid said. "He taught me how to go from being someone who throws hard to someone who knows how to be a complete pitcher. He was hard on us and he made us work, but it paid off."
Clemons helped Madrid refine his mechanics and also got him to throw a slider.
"Roman came in ready to work," Clemons said. "When he was consistent, he was as good as anybody in the conference.
"We slowed him down a little bit and helped him improve with his location."
Madrid's velocity has increased to where he is consistently clocked at 92 to 93 mph, which impressed Central Florida.
"I know they liked my velocity," Madrid said. "I won't be sure what role I'll have until later in the fall. I'm getting ready to be used in relief."
Madrid is pitching for the Generals again this summer, although his classroom schedule limits him to weekend games.
But Madrid looks forward to coming home and pitching at Riverside Stadium as much as possible.
His last outing was Friday against the league-leading East Texas Pump Jacks.
Madrid retired all four batters he faced, including three by strikeout.
"I'm planning to be here every Friday and Saturday when we're in Victoria," he said.