Texas Rangers Pitch, Hit & Run Regional Team Championship; MLB announces RBI for RBI scholarship winners

Negro Leagues Museum Invitational recap; Rangers win Lone Star EMMY for Youth Academy human interest piece

September 2nd, 2022

Pitch, Hit & Run Regional Team Championship

The Texas Rangers Youth Academy will host the 2022 Pitch, Hit & Run (PHR) Southern Regional Team Championship at Globe Life Field on Sunday, Sept. 4. The event will feature top performers from local Pitch, Hit and Run competitions across the region, including Texas, Arkansas, Oklahoma, Louisiana, Colorado and New Mexico.

Rangers Youth Academy champions Jayden Phillips, Kayla Clemmons, Luciano Lopez, Julie Gonzalez, Jacob Zuniga, SarahJoyce Mercado, Daniel Torres and Eden Hollingsworth will compete in their respective age divisions with hopes of advancing to the PHR finals at Game 2 of the MLB World Series this October.

Participants will be scored in three categories:

Pitch – From the pitcher’s mound, participants attempt to throw six strikes at a target, gaining a point for each target hit. New this year, the addition of a bullseye target worth double the points.

Hit – Each athlete takes five swings off a tee in an attempt to hit the ball as far and as straight as possible.

Run – Runners will be timed to see how quickly they can run from base to base in a 90-yard dash.

Top scorers in the 14U, 12U, 10U and 8U baseball and softball divisions will be compared to Pitch, Hit & Run Team Champions across the league, with the best overall advancing to the 2022 finals.

Two Rangers Youth Academy athletes awarded National RBI for RBI scholarships

Major League Baseball announced the 12 winners of the 2022 RBI for RBI Scholarships awarded to incoming college freshmen who are alumni of the Reviving Baseball in Inner Cities (RBI) program.

Texas Rangers Youth Academy athletes Kaila Torres, a Sunset High School graduate and Bethel College-North Newton freshman, and Ian Williams, a Palmer High School graduate and Cedar Valley College freshman, were each awarded $20,000 college scholarships.

The long-time Youth Academy athletes were chosen for the award based on their academic success in the classroom and community involvement off the field.

Recipients from RBI programs across the country received scholarships, including athletes from Cincinnati Reds RBI, Miami Marlins RBI, Los Angeles Angels RBI and Philadelphia Phillies RBI. The Texas Rangers Youth Academy was the only RBI program with two athletes selected to receive the MLB scholarship.

Youth Academy returns from Negro Leagues Museum Invitational

Last weekend, two Texas Rangers Youth Academy teams traveled to Kansas City for the Negro Leagues Museum Invitational, presented by Comerica Bank.

The second annual invitational saw Youth Academy athletes tour the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum, play exhibition games against the Royals Urban Youth Academy and watch the Royals-Padres Saturday night match-up at Kauffman Stadium.

Destan Burks, Kaleb Thompkins and Tyson Vaughn were among the 25 Academy athletes who made the trip to Missouri.

The Negro Leagues Baseball Museum tour, led by museum president Bob Kendrick, was an impactful experience for every athlete on the trip. Burks, a 15-year-old shortstop, left the museum with a new sense of gratitude, saying, “I think we take a lot of things for granted — learning what [Negro Leagues players] had to endure during those times was eye-opening. I appreciate their sacrifices.”

Thompkins and Vaughn echoed her sentiments and were thankful for the opportunity to learn more about the ball players of the Negro Leagues who helped pave the way for their baseball journeys today.

As part of the weekend’s events, the Rangers and Kansas City Royals Urban Youth Academy squared off in two exhibition games. The Rangers baseball and softball teams split the weekend series, both finishing 1-1.

In their opening game, Rangers softball won, 6-2, but dropped its second game, 10-4. Burks dominated on defense in both games, with six putouts and a perfect fielding percentage. Other star players included pitcher Shantia Haymer, who threw three innings with no earned runs, and Breyonia Sotire, who batted .500 through both games to earn offensive player of the weekend.

Rangers baseball opened play with a 6-1 loss but came back to win Game 2, 9-8. Thompkins threw 4.1 innings, giving up no runs in his relief appearance, and Vaugh earned the win in game two after a nearly flawless relief appearance. On offense, Colin Moore hit one well beyond the fences for a clutch two-run homer, and Austin Phillips earned player of the tournament honors after a bases-loaded RBI double in the ninth to give his team the lead and eventual win in Game 2.

The Rangers Academy athletes were excited to play on the unfamiliar turf, meet new athletes and explore what the Kansas City Academy had to offer.

Many athletes also experienced their first MLB game at Kauffman Stadium last weekend when they watched the home team Royals face the San Diego Padres.

“It was a great experience because we got to eat all the different food that [Kauffman Stadium] had to offer and it was great to tour the stadium and admire its architecture,” said Thompkins. For Burks, “The most memorable moment was watching [Juan] Soto rob a batter of his home run!”

The Rangers Youth Academy returned to Dallas after a successful weekend Sunday, Aug. 28. Vaughn shared that what made the trip even more special was “getting to know my teammates more and building a good team chemistry over the weekend.”

Texas Rangers’ “Sometimes a Kid Just Needs a Chance” wins 2022 Lone Star Sports EMMY

On Saturday, Aug. 27, The Texas Rangers and Texas Rangers Youth Academy won a 2022 Lone Star Sports EMMY Award for Best Sports Human Interest Feature for the video “Sometimes a Kid Just Needs a Chance.”

The video feature tells the story of the West Dallas kids who rely on the Academy’s free year-round programming and family-like atmosphere that connects every athlete and coach that takes the field.

To watch the Lone Star Sports EMMY Award-winning video “Sometimes a Kid Just Needs a Chance,” presented by NIKE, visit mlb.com/video/a-kid-just-needs-a-chance.