Arlington, Texas - As far as Miguel Perez Torres knew, Wednesday, October 2, was going to be a normal night at the Texas Rangers MLB Youth Academy at Mercy Street Sports Complex, Presented by Toyota.
Torres was on hand early for the Youth Academy Fall Training Program activities, so the 16-year-old assumed he was being asked to help when a member of the Academy staff asked him to head out to Oates Field.
Instead, Texas Rangers Director of Youth Academy & Youth Baseball/Softball Programs Juan Leonel Garciga and other members of the Academy coaching staff were on hand to tell Torres he'd been named the Academy's Youth of the Year. Click to watch video on the Academy website of Torres being surprised with the honor.
"I'm very excited that I was chosen. I didn't actually know there was an award for that," Torres said.
A Youth of the Year was selected from each of the eight MLB Youth Academies across the country. The award comes with a trip to Game 4 of the World Series, courtesy of Major League Baseball.
"Miguel is a very coachable player who is always looking for ways to improve his game. He's the player who will go out of his way to help pick up equipment and also ask for additional ground balls at third base. Since the beginning of the year, you would have been hard pressed to come out to the Academy and not see Miguel," Garciga said. "His attitude is what you look for when putting together a winning team."
While Torres was surprised by the award, he was especially excited about the opportunity to attend the World Series and take his sister.
"It's crazy. I've never gone to a postseason game, but I've gone to a few Rangers games, thanks to them as well. They've also invited to some of those. I'm very excited to go," Torres said of the opportunity to attend Game 4.
Pinkston High School is the home school for Torres, who attends JBS Law Magnet School as part of the Townview High School System, so Torres also practices and plays his home games at the Academy as part of the Vikings baseball team.
"I've been coming out since January and played all my high school games here. It's been very fun and a very good experience for me. My teammates, my coaches, and the front office here, they've helped a lot," Torres said.
The Academy's Youth of the Year was quick to thank the coaches and staff for their impact, saying the support of the staff has been a highlight of his experience at the facility.
"They're always here giving us water, anything we need. They help me out. One time I didn't have turf shoes and they gave me some turf shoes, it was very special. I want to thank them," Torres said.
Photos of Torres being told about the Award are attached, and video is available at .
Through the first four weeks of the Youth Academy Fall Training program, over 700 baseball and softball players have taken part in the free activities.
Programming occurs Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays from 6:30 - 8:30 p.m. through November 15. Registration is available for baseball and softball players ages seven through 18 at .
The fall season of RBI baseball and softball is underway at the Academy, with games being played on Saturdays through November 17.
An updated schedule for the eight baseball and four softball teams playing at the Academy is below.
Scheduling is subject to change, and updates will be posted via the twitter account.
Also Taking the Field
The Academy is also home field for Mercy Street Little League. The fall season began Friday, September 28.
West Dallas Little League partners with the Little League Urban initiative to facilitate baseball and softball for participants ages four through 12.
Registration is available at
The Buck O'Neil Scouts Association Clinic: Saturday, November 10
The clinic aims to promote baseball in inner-cities by educating coaches and mentoring players.
Founded in honor of the late legendary player and scout Buck O'Neil, the Buck O'Neil Professional Baseball Scouts & Coaches Association was created to provide a forum for scouts and coaches to share their passion for the game. O'Neil was the first African American to coach in the Major Leagues and one of the first to scout fulltime.
Registration is available at rangers.com/academy for players ages 14 through 18.
Kershaw's Challenge Baseball Camp: Saturday, November 10
This will mark the seventh annual Kershaw's Challenge Baseball Camp, hosted by Mercy Street.
Dallas native Clayton Kershaw and his wife Ellen founded Kershaw's Challenge in 2011 and have since given over six millions dollars to support at-risk children and families around the globe. The foundation contributed generously to the building of the Academy facility, which includes Kershaw's Challenge Field named in his honor.