Glenwood’s Romero signs with JUCO powerhouse | PostIndependent.com

Glenwood’s Romero signs with JUCO powerhouse

Just weeks before the start of his senior season, Glenwood standout shortstop and pitcher Stephen Romero, the son of Todd Romero and Lisa Dickson, has decided where he'll take his talents to for at least the next season or two by signing his national letter of intent Thursday afternoon with JUCO powerhouse Garden City Community College to play baseball with the BroncBusters.

By signing with the Busters, Romero will continue a stellar career on the diamond with hopes of eventually hooking on with a Division I, II or III program following either his freshman or sophomore seasons at Garden City. As a member of the Busters, Romero will pitch and play first base, a new position for the Glenwood senior who holds down shortstop for the Demons when not racking up strikeouts on the mound.

"I believe JUCO is the best route for me right now, personally," Romero said. "It gets a bad rap at times, but it's the best route for me because the Garden City program is very strong in how they involve academics in their sports, and it's also just two years. If I were to explode in my freshman or sophomore years then I could get an offer from a bigger program. Plus, they have what I want to study. I want to major in communications and follow in my dad's footsteps and be a broadcaster some day."

Throughout the recruiting process for the Glenwood standout, Romero fielded nearly nine offers throughout his time before eventually settling on his decision with Garden City.

"The recruiting process is pretty hectic. It was definitely a crazy thing, but it was also a great experience. My decision to sign with Garden City was something that my Dad always used to tell me, and that was, 'Go where they want you the most.' Basically, I was choosing between a JUCO in Arizona and Garden City. I took a trip to Garden City a few weeks ago and the facilities there were amazing. I mean, the indoor workout rooms and the fields that they had were nice. I felt like I fit in there and I really liked the town; it's pretty nice there."

Located in Garden City, Kansas, Garden City CC routinely churns out one of the top programs in all of JUCO, missing the JUCO World Series in Grand Junction last summer by just a few games.

Growing up in the valley, Romero and friends would routinely make the trek to Grand Junction for the JUCO World Series at Sam Suplizio Field. Now, by signing with Garden City the Glenwood product has a shot at returning home to the area to play on one of the biggest stages in college baseball.

"Now I have a chance to make it there as a player," Romero said. "I'm excited to be a part of team that definitely has the ability to reach that level, and I'm excited to put my efforts towards helping them hopefully reach that level."

As a kid, Romero's Dad was the one that first put a bat in his hands, sparking the love of the game for the senior.

"He's definitely one of the biggest influences in my life," Romero said. "As a little kid he was the one who put a whiffle ball bat in my hands and had me swing left handed but throw right handed. That alone was a big factor in schools showing interest in me because I was unique in that way. My dad has always been the one to push me and work with me from sun up to sun down on the field, and I'm forever grateful for that. But I also wouldn't be where I am today without the love and support of my mom and my grandparents. They're a big reason I'm where I'm at right now."

Although Romero only officially signed with Garden City Thursday afternoon at Glenwood Springs High School, the senior said that the decision was made a few weeks ago when he was on his official visit to the community college in Kansas, roughly 500 miles from home.

"Going into the visit I was kind of thinking, 'oh, it's Kansas. What do they have to do around there?'," Romero said. "But after taking the visit I just loved it there. I loved the facilities and everything about the surrounding area and I just felt really welcomed there. Plus, it's not too far from Denver, so my Dad can come to my games and it's not too far from Glenwood as well."

As a Colorado kid, the hard work has paid off for Romero, who has been recognized as one of the top all-around players in the valley at the varsity level, as well as the summer circuit. Last season for the Demons, Romero hit .375 and drove in 17 runs at the plate, while adding 50 strikeouts in 44 innings as a pitcher, helping Glenwood go 8-9 overall in 2016.

"Being from a small town like Glenwood and a place where it snows a lot, so you don't get to play year round like kids from California, Arizona and places like that, it makes it that much more important to put in the extra time," Romero said. "You have to put in the time to be recognized because there's always going to be someone out there trying to outwork you. And that's something that I've used to push me to stay an extra hour after practice, to do an extra day of work even when we're off. I just want to show younger kids in our valley and at other schools that just because you come from a small town doesn't mean you can't work hard and get your name out there."

Romero will officially start his senior season with the Demons in a season-opening tournament in Cortez against Montezuma-Cortez, where he'll look to jump-start Glenwood on a playoff run in his final season.