Academy Notebook: Andre Dawson 12U Classic; Rangers Youth Academy athletes shine at MLB GRIT: Girls ID Tour; National Girls & Women in Sports Day recap 

February 17th, 2023

Texas Rangers Youth Academy to participate in Andre Dawson 12U Classic

The Texas Rangers Youth Academy will travel to New Orleans next weekend from Feb. 24-26 to participate in the Andre Dawson 12U Classic.

The 12U youth tournament is an ancillary event to Major League Baseball’s Andre Dawson Classic, a round-robin collegiate tournament established in 2008 to highlight baseball programs at Historically Black Colleges and Universities. 

Returning for the first time since 2020, the Andre Dawson 12U Classic will see 15 ball players from the Texas Rangers Youth Academy face off against five 12U teams from across the U.S.

Competing in the West pool alongside the Rangers Youth Academy are the Chicago White Sox ACE Black and the Houston Astros Youth Academy, while Atlanta RBI, Chicago White Sox ACE White and the NOLA Youth Academy will play in the East pool.

The Rangers will open pool play at 8 a.m. on Friday, Feb. 24, against the Chicago ACE Black, followed by their second game at noon against the Astros Youth Academy.

On Saturday, the top two seeds in the West will compete at 10 a.m. with hopes to reach Sunday’s championship game, where the best from the East and West will meet at Wesley Barrow Stadium at the New Orleans Youth Academy.

When the youth teams aren’t competing against one another, athletes will have the opportunity to attend collegiate Andre Dawson Classic games that will feature seven HBCU baseball programs, including Alabama A&M University, Alabama State University, Florida A&M University, Grambling State University, Jackson State University, Prairie View A&M University and Southern University. Rounding out the field of eight participating teams is non-HBCU, the University of New Orleans, which will act as tournament co-host.

Academy athletes shine at MLB GRIT: Girls ID Tour

Last weekend the MLB GRIT: Girls ID Tour stopped at the Texas Rangers Youth Academy to identify the next wave of female baseball stars.

With help from special guest coaches Alex Hugo, a USA Baseball Women’s National Team member and Elizabeth Benn, Director of Major League Operations for the New York Mets, athletes ages 11-18 took the field in the workout-style event to prove their skills on the baseball diamond.

Top athletes from each MLB GRIT: Girls ID Tour destination, which includes Seattle, Philadelphia, Dallas and Atlanta, will be extended invitations to participate in the MLB Develops Girls Baseball Elite Development Invitational and the Girls Baseball Breakthrough Series later this year.

Of the dozen Dallas participants, Texas Rangers Youth Academy athletes Daisy Armendariz, Aaliyah Marquez and Naya Page each had strong showings in fielding and hitting drills.

Leading into last Saturday’s event, Marquez and Page were also informed of their selection to attend the MLB and USA Baseball Trailblazer Series for athletes ages 11-13. Armendariz, an alumnus of the Trailblazer Series, has since aged out of the program.

Marquez and Page will head to Vero Beach, Fla., from April 13-16 to continue developing their skills and gain valuable guidance from current and former Women's National Team players and coaching staff, baseball executives and other notables from the sport.

All three athletes remain hopeful as they await news of MLB GRIT participants selected to attend the Elite Development Invitational and Breakthrough Series following the tour’s final stop in Atlanta on March 19.

Lauren Chamberlain Girls & Women in Sports event recap

On Wednesday, Feb. 15, nearly 100 young girls attended Lauren Chamberlain’s National Girls and Women in Sports celebration at the Texas Rangers Youth Academy. Rescheduled from its original date on Feb. 1, the University of Oklahoma softball star teamed up with Major League Baseball to host the PLAY BALL event for female ball players across DFW.

In the first portion of the evening, Chamberlain played wiffle ball games with athletes ages 7-12 and worked with groups on fielding and hitting. She then joined the 18U winter programming session for high school-aged athletes, where she gave one-on-one instruction as they worked through high-level hitting and fielding drills.

In addition to offering valuable on-field advice, Chamberlain opened the field for questions to inspire the next generation of softball and girls’ baseball players as they look to follow in her footsteps and become influential women in sports.