Academy Notebook: Texas Rangers announce RBI Scholarship recipients 

August 7th, 2020

The Texas Rangers and the Rangers Baseball Foundation announced the recipients of the two 2020 Rangers RBI Scholarships.

Kylie Cox and Abraham Mata will both receive $2,500 to be applied to their college tuition.

Cox, who graduated from W.W. Samuell High School this spring, didn’t decide she wanted to play college softball until her sophomore year in high school. By then, many opportunities had already passed her by, but Cox was dedicated to honing her craft and maximized her time at the Texas Rangers MLB Youth Academy at Mercy Street Sports Complex, Presented by Toyota.

The outfielder arrived at the Academy in 2017, the inaugural season, and went on to earn a spot on the team that represented the Academy in the 2019 Jennie Finch Classic as part of All-Star Weekend festivities in Cleveland.

In 2019, Cox was a member of the first Rangers Youth Academy softball team to win a game at the RBI Southwest Regionals in Austin. The team advanced to the championship contest, thanks to Cox’s game saving catch in the semifinal game.

Her continued development earned the respect of the Rangers Academy staff, which selected her as the Rangers representative for the Academy Youth of the Year in 2019.

Her efforts paid off, as Cox is slated to attend Crowley’s Ridge College in Paragould, Ark., in the fall to major in sports management and play collegiate softball.

“My goal for myself will always be to work hard even when no one is looking,” Cox said.

Mata, who graduated from Judge Barefoot Sanders Law Magnet at Townview Magnet Center this spring, will attend Southern Methodist University in the fall to study mechanical engineering.

Mata has played in the Academy’s RBI league since 2018.

“The most important thing I’ve learned from playing baseball is teamwork, you lose as a team or win as a team,” Mata said.

Each year, the Rangers award two Rangers RBI Scholarships to graduating high school seniors of $2,500 each to be applied to college tuition. Recipients must me active participants in the Rangers RBI League.

“We always stress to our athletes that by excelling in the classroom, they will have far more opportunities to play at the next level because they become a more attractive player to college coaches and scouts. The RBI Scholarship is a way for us to recognize their commitment to their education and reward them for it,” Academy Director Juan Leonel Garciga said.

All-Star Experience at Globe Life Field

All-Star teams from the Rangers Academy RBI leagues Senior Division Baseball, Junior Division Baseball and Softball Division were treated to a Big League experience at Globe Life Field this week, competing in exhibition contests scheduled in lieu of the RBI Southwest Regionals, which were canceled as a result of COVID-19.

“It was a real treat because normally, we’re able to give a big league experience to 45 players, 15 from each All-Star team. This year, with the freedom to host the event here, we’re able to pretty much double that and serve almost 100 athletes to give them, truly, a big league experience,” Garciga said. “For us, that’s invaluable. You can’t put a price tag on that.”

During the RBI season, athletes tried out as normal for the All-Star teams, but instead of spots being awarded to fill one team from each division, two teams were created. The softball All-Stars competed at Globe Life Field on Monday, Aug. 3, followed by the Senior Division baseball squads Tuesday, Aug. 4 and the Junior Division baseball teams Wednesday, Aug. 5.

Molina High School graduate Giselle Garcia had her senior season of high school softball cut short by Coronavirus, but she was one of the Academy athletes who got to play her final softball game at Globe Life Field, thanks to the efforts of the Academy staff and support of the Rangers.

"It feels like a dream come true,” Garcia said. “It's something that you never thought would happen because of coronavirus. It's a dream come true because nobody else gets to say, 'I played the first softball game at Globe Life Field.' It's just so surreal."

Virtual Science of Baseball Wraps Up

Virtual Science of Baseball presented by Nike allows students to play the new gaming app STEMadium, which teaches science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM).

The three-week, virtual summer camp is designed for students entering fifth through eighth grades. Activities concluded this week.

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 summer classes in both English and Spanish began four weeks ago, while in-person classes will resume once the Academy’s indoor facilities reopen.