Gus Menendez is a name not every Hurricane fan might know, but he is an important part of Miami’s baseball team.
Menendez, a junior college transfer from Miami-Dade College, is a part-time starter at DH and a valuable utility infielder. He can play second base, third base and shortstop.
“[Miami-Dade’s] Coach Hertz called us about him,” Head Coach Jim Morris said. “We didn’t know where he would play, but we knew he could play all three infield positions.”
Menendez grew up in Coral Gables but had a long trip to get to the college of his choice. His first collegiate season was spent at South Alabama, where he started most of his games as a freshman.
The year he spent at South Alabama taught Menendez responsibility.
“I was living on my own freshman year,” Menendez said. “I was only 17 and I had to take care of my own things and be responsible.”
This was a lesson well learned by Menendez, being responsible for his own growth as well as the development of his teammates on the baseball field.
“He comes out and gives a good effort,” Morris said. “He is a little more advanced then the high school guys. He is a clutch player and keeps his composure at all times.”
An example of his clutch performance came in a loss against Florida on Sunday. The score was 6-4 and two runners were on for Menendez. He calmly laced a double to left field that scored both runs and tied the game up at 6-6 in the fifth inning.
“I enjoy getting my chance to help the team out,” Menendez said. “It makes you feel like you are apart of the team.”
Menendez grew up playing baseball. His father was the first one that got him hooked on playing baseball.
“My dad played,” Menendez said. “My parents are both of Cuban-American descent and that has always been a big sport there.”
Growing up so close to the school, Menendez finally got his chance to play with the team he grew to love.
“I live in Coral Gables so I have always been around this park,” Menendez said. “I grew up watching these guys play. This was my first choice; this is where I wanted to play.”
Denis Brown can be contacted at email@example.com