When Landen Roupp was in middle school – and already starting in the outfield for Faith Christian of Rocky Mount – his father was having a conversation with Patriots’ coach Greg Clifton, who saw the long-term potential in the youngster.
“Landen’s dad came up to me at practice one day and told me that, when the lights came on, Landen would be ready to go,” Clifton said. “He said Landen was a gamer, even going back to when he was a little kid.”
That assessment proved to be spot-on as Roupp has developed into a high-level clutch performer – both on the mound and with his bat.
After signing with UNC-Wilmington last winter, Roupp then set forth with the determination to make the most of his senior season. Roupp has done just that, leading the Patriots to a 23-1 mark and into this weekend’s N.C. Independent Schools Athletic Association championship series. Game 2 is Saturday at noon at Westchester Country Day in High Point.
“I’m just glad Landen is on my team,” Clifton said. “He has that ‘it’ factor, and I found that out a long time ago. What separates him from a lot of other pitchers is that he throws three pitches (fastball, slider and curve) all consistently for strikes.”
Roupp has been a field rat since he was a toddler, often following around older brother Chase at games. The siblings even got to play together at Faith for a few years before Chase graduated and went on to play at William Peace University, where he wrapped up his career a few weeks ago.
“Having someone like Chase really helped me growing up,” Roupp said. “We have a great relationship. He always tells me what I need to fix, and I try to tell him what he needs to fix. He has always been there for me.”
Roupp is one-third of a unique current situation in Nash County as he is joined as a Division I pitching signee by Rocky Mount High’s David Harrison and Rocky Mount Academy’s Reid Johnston, both of whom will attend N.C. State.
Faith, Rocky Mount Academy and Rocky Mount High are all located within a few miles of each other. Roupp has gone up against Johnston four times over the past two years, and was able to earn a victory each time.
“I’ve known (Johnston) and have been playing with and against him as long as I can remember,” Roupp said. “He is one of my best friends. But when we are on the field, he is just another person I am trying to get out. I guess you could say me and him try to out-duel each other.”