Central Baptist College baseball player Ben Madison made history this month when he was selected in the ninth round of the Major League Baseball draft by the San Francisco Giants.
Madison, who was the 256th overall pick, was the first player in the college’s history to ever be drafted and the first time in head coach Aaron Brister’s career that he had a player drafted.
"Congratulations to Ben for going in the ninth round to the Giants,” Brister said in a news release from CBC. "I am so proud of him and he is such a great guy. I loved coaching him for the two years he was at CBC. He always respected our coaching staff and would always tell me, 'Coach, I don't care where I pitch. You're the captain of this ship and I'm just here helping row the boat.'"
The Log Cabin Democrat was able to talk with Madison by phone June 18.
The 20-year-old told the LCD he had just completed his junior year at CBC but decided to take the next step in his baseball career by signing with the Giants and heading to Arizona, where he is currently.
Madison, who is originally from Benton, Arkansas, said he was playing in a Minnesota summer league when he got the news he had been drafted.
He said he was excited and the whole situation was “nerve-wracking.”
“It was just mind blowing,” Madison said.
Being from a NAIA school, he said, the pick, overall, was pretty significant and knowing that felt great.
In addition to the several teammates who were thrilled for him, he said his family was also really proud of him and his hard work.
He said there’s always a 50/50 chance: either a person gets drafted or they don’t but since he started the game — he’s been playing for 14 years — that’s always the direction he wanted to go.
“As soon as I had a baseball in my hand, that was the goal,” Madison said.
Through the years, he said, the game has taught him to be coachable, how to set his mind to something and achieve that goal and how to be a leader and help others and is thankful for the coaching staff at CBC for their approachable attitudes and the way they encouraged him to keep his head up.
Madison attended Crowder College as a freshman and transferred to CBC his sophomore year to be closer to home and grow his personal relationship with God, knowing being at CBC would put him in the right state of mind to do that.
During his career at CBC, he led NAIA in strikeouts the last two seasons, had 129 his sophomore year and 172 — a program record — his junior season and is the career record holder with 301 strikeouts.
The pitcher is one of three in CBC history to have more than 100 strikeouts in a season, which he did twice and was CBC’s co-leader in wins with six, leading the team in earned-run average with a 2.70 ERA and in opponent batting average, holding opponents to a .176 average.
Madison also threw CBC’s second no-hitter in program history with a 3-0 victory over Martin Methodist Feb. 18, 2017.
Through all that time, Madison said his favorite aspect of the game has been the relationships it’s allowed him to make and the fun he’s had from the mound.