Chase Maddux arrived at Bishop Gorman’s signing day ceremony wearing black slacks, a black dress shirt and a scarlet tie.
The senior for the Gaels baseball team wasn’t about to miss an opportunity to wear the colors of his future school.
“UNLV has always been my team,” he said.
Maddux, the son of Hall of Fame pitcher Greg Maddux, signed a letter of intent with the hometown Rebels on Wednesday, capping his journey from an undersized, seldom-used pitcher to Division I prospect.
Maddux was one of eight Gorman students honored at the school Wednesday, the first day of the spring signing period. Several other area athletes are expected to sign before the period ends May 20 for Division I basketball and Aug. 1 for all other sports.
“It’s a dream come true,” Chase Maddux said. “Growing up and playing baseball, your ultimate dream is to play at a Division I school, and I finally get to do that next year.
“I’ve always been pretty undersized. Last year I kind of started to sprout up, and it gave me a fighting chance. I kept working hard and finally I got in there and proved that I could get some outs.”
Added Greg Maddux: “I’m very proud of him. He’s always applied himself, and he’s always tried to be the best he can be. … He’s always liked UNLV, so I’m glad he gets to be part of the program.”
Maddux did not make Gorman’s varsity team his first two years at the school, and last season he made only five appearances, going 1-0 with a 1.70 ERA in 12 1/3 innings. As a senior, Maddux established himself as part of the Gaels’ starting rotation under first-year coach Gino DiMaria.
The right-hander struggled in his most recent start, allowing seven runs in 2 1/3 innings in a loss to St. Francis (Calif.) on Saturday, but is 3-1 with a 4.11 ERA in 15 1/3 innings for top-ranked Gorman (17-2).
“The kid has earned his way,” DiMaria said. “It’s a shame because sometimes when you have a father like Greg, everyone is going to think, ‘Well, it’s because of the father.’ But this kid works hard, he has a high baseball IQ, and I know he’s going to be ready for the next level.”
Maddux, whose fastball tops out in the mid-80s, is known for the movement on his pitches, much like his father was during a 23-year career that included 355 victories.
Maddux said he’s unsure whether he will be used by the Rebels as a starter or out of the bullpen. UNLV did not officially announce its signees, and Rebels coach Tim Chambers cannot comment on Maddux until that time.
“He’s not even close to his peak,” DiMaria said. “He’s not overpowering, but I’ll tell you what, I’d rather see a guy who throws 95, 96 (mph) flat than somebody like him who is 84, 85 with movement. He’s going to be effective. He’s going to have a lot of hitters off balance.”
Maddux is listed at 6-foot, 140 pounds and is expected to redshirt his first season at UNLV. The Rebels were his lone Division I offer.
“I just kept working hard and didn’t get frustrated when I didn’t get in,” Maddux said. “I just kept trying to get better, and it finally paid off.”
Other notable locals to sign Wednesday were Palo Verde boys basketball player Grant Dressler (Sacramento State) and Findlay Prep boys basketball player Horace Spencer (Auburn). Centennial baseball player Jake Portaro is expected to sign with Utah during a ceremony at 12:30 p.m. today at the school.
Contact reporter David Schoen at firstname.lastname@example.org or 702-387-5203. Follow him on Twitter: @DavidSchoenLVRJ.