When Selena Mendoza’s college softball career was wrapping up, she knew she didn’t want it to mark the end of her time in the game.
Taking a job as one of the coaches at the Texas Rangers MLB Youth Academy at Mercy Street Sports Complex, presented by Toyota, has allowed her to share the skills she learned playing at Murray State Junior College and Henderson State University.
“I decided it would be a great opportunity to still be involved and be able to offer my knowledge to athletes whose shoes I was once in,” Mendoza said. “Each day I get new inspiration from the Academy athletes because I want to see them succeed beyond their personal goals. I want to see what baseball or softball can help them achieve. I see so much potential in each one and its inspiring to know that I get to be a part of these kids’ journey.”
Mendoza is one of the coaches returning to action for the resumption of Academy programming following the hiatus caused by COVID-19. She will also be coaching an RBI softball team when the fall season begins next month.
The Academy’s fall training program kicked off Tuesday, Sept. 15 and is slated to run through Oct. 29.
“The players will have a chance to get out of the house and be active as well as see some of their friends at the Academy they may have not been able to see for months now. I know it will be a little different due to guidelines and precautions being placed, but I know we will be able to adjust and make sure everyone stays safe,” Mendoza said.
Mendoza is currently studying to become a Cardiovascular Invasive Specialist (RCIS or Cath Lab Tech), spending most days and some weekends in classes or clinicals. But when she’s not focused on learning something new herself, coaching allows the former collegiate athlete to share what she learned from the game.
“The biggest thing that was instilled into my head through college was ‘control what you can control,’” Mendoza said. “We get frustrated with umpires or different external sources that we have no way of controlling. But my coaches always made sure that we as individuals could control our best effort or our positive attitudes.”
Now coaching in the Academy’s fall training program, Mendoza wants her athletes to know that she’s there for them.
“Everyone is being affected. I want them to know they are not alone, and they have so many people to talk to,” Mendoza said. “We as a staff care about everyone and will do what we can to make sure that the athletes are taken care of.”
Mendoza is one of approximately 15 Academy coaches back in action with the 12U Fall Training Program, which follows all of MLB’s return to play guidelines with the goal of keeping athletes, coaches, and staff safe and healthy.
The 12U program will run through Oct. 29. Mondays are geared towards advanced baseball, Tuesdays focus on intermediate baseball, Wednesdays are devoted to 12U and 9U softball, while Thursdays are tailored for 9U advanced and intermediate baseball.
Registration is available at texasrangersya.leagueapps.com.
For 18U baseball players, programming will begin Oct. 12 and run through Nov. 2. Intermediate baseball will be held on Monday evenings, and advanced baseball on Tuesday evenings.
In lieu of 18U softball programming, the Academy will host a fall RBI softball league. Dallas Parks and Rec will host the fall season of RBI baseball.
West Dallas Little League
Mercy Street Dallas is set to bring back baseball this fall, with West Dallas Little League games beginning Monday, Sept. 21.
Games will be played at the Texas Rangers Youth Academy at Mercy Street Sports Complex. Registration is available at mercystreetdallas.org.
Buckner Virtual Programming
Academy athletes are continuing to take part in virtual classes offered by Buckner International’s Family Hope Center at the Rangers MLB Youth Academy. Online classes in both English and Spanish are being offered, while in-person classes will resume at a future date.