Pitching for stardom
Former Tiger hurler tabbed for All-Star team
Charles Prince, Hartselle Enquirer
It's what everybody wants in life – a chance to prove what they can do; a chance to show they can get the job done.
That chance was a long time coming for Tyde Meadows, but when it came, he made the most of it.
It was midway through Meadows' sophomore season in 2003 before he was given a starting assignment for the University of Alabama at Huntsville. He threw six solid innings and left the game with the lead. In his second start he threw a shutout and he's been in the starting rotation ever since.
Meadows, a graduate of Hartselle High School, was named to the All-Gulf South Conference team this season after posting an 8-3 record in 15 starts this year.
"I was real excited when I heard about it," Meadows said of the honor. "It took a while to hit me, that they chose me as one of the best players in the conference."
Meadows finished tied for the team lead in strikeouts with 60 in 82 innings of work.
He uses pin-point control to record most of his strikeouts.
"I like to start the batter on the inside corner of the plate," Meadows said. "If I get a strike on the first pitch, I'll throw on the outside corner for the second one. Then I like to throw my change-up. It's my best pitch. It's the pitch I get most of my strikeouts on."
Meadows was a member of the 2000 state championship
team at Hartselle. He says that Tiger coach William Booth gave his players the secret to success.
"He broke it down for you," Meadows said. "He would say, 'There's a state championship waiting for you if you'll work for it.' That team really took his words to heart. We were determined to win it that year."
Meadows turned down scholarship offers from two community colleges to walk on at UAH. Meadows wanted the chance to play with his older brother Trai, who had just finished his freshman year with the Chargers.
Since entering college, Meadows has added more than 20 pounds to his 6-foot-1 and a half-inch frame. In high school, his playing weight was 172, this past season his weight stayed between 195 and 203.
"I'm on a weight lifting program and I run 2 or 3 miles a day," Meadows said.
"I work out my legs hard. That's where a pitcher's power comes from. Strong legs let you throw harder."
Meadows has seen his fastball increase from 82 to 87 MPH since enrolling at UAH.
According to pro scouts, Meadows will be drafted next year if he can add two to three MPHs to his fastball.
"Scouts told my coach that my velocity needs to be around 89 or 90 to be drafted," Meadows said. "They say my change up is already major league caliber, but my fastball needs a little more power."
Meadows says his self-confidence has increased since he's been at the college level.
"Giving up hits got to me in high school," Meadows said. "I'm able to shake if off now. If a guy gets a hit, I just focus on the next guy.
" I don't care if it's the teams best hitter or not, I think I can get him out."
His goals for next season include repeating as a conference All-Star, reaching double-digit wins in his senior season and getting the phone call telling him he's been drafted into pro ball.
"I knew I could be a starter in college if I got my chance," Meadows said. "I learned that from my days in Hartselle, and I know I can play pro ball if I get the chance."