Academy notebook 3/8/19

Dallas natives Zamarron, Gonzalez & Beltran set for MLB Grit Invitational

March 8th, 2019

A trio of Dallas natives are set to take the field today at Globe Life Park in Arlington as part of the first ever MLB Grit High School Girls Baseball Invitational.

For Life Waxahachie sophomore Tatyana Beltran, the opportunity to play at Globe Life Park will be a highlight of the experience.

“This is a dream come true!” Beltran said. “I remember going to Rangers FanFest and running the bases, seeing the dugout and catching in the field. I would think that I want to be the girl to make it in the MLB one day and play on that field. I may not be in the MLB yet, but I will be imagining it when I'm out there playing on the field Friday.”

Beltran has been playing baseball since she was 9. It started with the local rec league at Kiest Park. At 11, she progressed to select ball, then moved from AA to the majors (select) level by high school. And this marks the second season she’s played on her high school’s JV team.

The infielder is slated to play on Team 2 for the tournament, meaning she will take the field at Globe Life Park today, Friday, March 8, at 5:00 p.m.

And she won’t be the only representative from Dallas.

Sunset High School junior Alicia Gonzalez started her baseball journey playing T-ball in Oak Cliff, eventually moving from coach pitch to kid pitch.

“At my first practice I saw they had another girl on the team, Tatyana Beltran. Over time, she and I grew closer and we started playing with all girls baseball teams together.”

Gonzalez and fellow Dallas native, Hillcrest High School freshman Ximena Zamarron, are also slated to team up for Wednesday’s activities. Both are on Team 4, taking the field at Globe Life Park today, Friday, March 8, at 1:30 p.m.

“This is important to get everybody to open their eyes and see that women and girls are playing baseball, too, not just men,” Zamarron said of the invitational. “When people see opportunities like this, other girls that were shy to play baseball because people were like, ‘oh it’s just for guys, I can’t play that.’ But maybe they’re like, ‘since they’re playing it, I want to do it, too.’ More people will end up doing it and it will change people’s points of view.”

The Texas Rangers and the Texas Rangers MLB Youth Academy at Mercy Street Sports Complex, Presented by Toyota, are hosting the invitational, which features high school baseball players from 21 states, Washington D.C., Canada, and Puerto Rico, including players who competed with Team USA, Canada, and Puerto Rico in the Women’s Baseball World Cup in August 2018.

And the group heard from special speakers from the Rangers including FOX Sports Southwest field reporter Emily Jones, Executive Vice President and General Counsel Katie Pothier, and Senior Software Developer Kim Eskew on Thursday night.

The tournament joins the returning Trailblazer Series and Girls Breakthrough Series as part of Major League Baseball’s third consecutive year of creating programming designed to grow the area of girls in baseball.

Whether they’re coming from across the country or down the street, the girls at the event are sure to find plenty in common.

“There's a natural connection to the other girls because we all understand what it's like to be a girl playing baseball,” Beltran said.

For Gonzalez, it’s also about being a fan.

“It’s an amazing opportunity, I’ve always dreamt of playing there,” the catcher said. “As a kid, my neighbor would come over and we’d watch Rangers games together. When we’d go to Globe Life Park and they’d let people run around the bases, I’d like to imagine I was in an actual game playing there.”

On Friday, she actually will.

The MLB Grit game schedule is below:

Praises from a star

Matthew McConaughey stopped by the Academy on Tuesday, March 5, to meet with students from Sam Houston High School in Arlington, Pinkston High School in Dallas and Eastern Hills High School in Fort Worth who participate in the _just keep livin foundation_’s after school program.

And the award winning actor was impressed by what he saw.

“This is cool. This is my first time over here,” McConaughey said of the facility. “We’ve been working with the Rangers now for 10 years and part of the goal of our foundation is to keep kids more active – exercise level, nutrition goals, community service, gratitude. This is now like a playground that helps with all the things that we’re trying to do in our foundation.”

In May 2011, the Rangers Foundation partnered with Matthew McConaughey and his just keep livin foundation to create an after-school program centered on encouraging students to improve their physical and mental health through exercise, teamwork, gratitude, nutrition, and community service.

On Tuesday, the group played Wiffle ball at the Academy’s indoor Adrian Beltre Field, in addition to meeting with McConaughey. 

Game on

High School Baseball returns to Oates Field on Monday, March 11 when Sunset JV will host Glen Rose JV at 11:00 a.m., followed by Sunset Varsity against Glen Rose Varsity.

Pinkston softball is set to defend home field against Roosevelt tonight, Friday, March 8 at 5:00 p.m.

Pinkston High School baseball and softball teams call the Academy home again in 2019. The facility also supports scheduling for David W. Carter High School and Sunset High School Baseball, in addition to Pinkston Middle School Softball. Various other Dallas ISD games and tournaments are played at the Academy throughout the year, too.