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Academy notebook: Academy activities resume with RBI League

June 19, 2020

Opening Day came to the Texas Rangers MLB Youth Academy at Mercy Street Sports Complex, Presented by Toyota, on Monday, June 15, as the Texas Rangers Baseball and Softball RBI leagues got underway after a three-month programming hiatus at the Academy due to COVID-19 regulations. “I love it. We’ve been

Opening Day came to the Texas Rangers MLB Youth Academy at Mercy Street Sports Complex, Presented by Toyota, on Monday, June 15, as the Texas Rangers Baseball and Softball RBI leagues got underway after a three-month programming hiatus at the Academy due to COVID-19 regulations.

“I love it. We’ve been inside too long. I’m ready to play,” Adamson High School’s Sebastian Diaz said shortly before his Rough Riders played to a 5-5 tie with the Vikings on Oates Field.

It was Diaz’s first time taking the field since his junior season of high school baseball was canceled in the fourth inning on March 12.

“We were down 4-0 with the bases loaded,” Diaz recalled. “The coach was like, ‘this is going to be our last batter. We’ve got to stop the game.’”

Diaz is one of approximately 450 high school baseball and softball players competing on the 26 RBI teams in Junior and Senior division play during the seven-week season.

“For a number of players, they played their final high school baseball and or softball game and, in that moment, had no idea they would never step onto the field again. The RBI league is giving many of them the opportunity to have that closure and go out on their own terms,” Academy Director Juan Leonel Garciga said.

“We have a number of players who have signed to play college baseball and softball, and dozens more with aspirations of walking on to the team at their college or university. This is an opportunity for many of those kids to get the work in and prepare themselves for what’s ahead next year,” Garciga added.

Baseball games are being played on Oates Field and Field of Dreams, with softball competition taking place on Hambone Field and Clayton Kershaw Challenge Field. Due to safety protocols, the Globe Life Indoor Training Center will remain closed at the present time. The facility is operating under the guidelines established for youth sports participation as part of the State of Texas’ reopening.