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Meet Natalia Cantu

For aspiring photographer and entrepreneur Natalia Cantu, growing her softball game is just one benefit to spending time at The Texas Rangers MLB Youth Academy at Mercy Street Sports Complex, Presented by Toyota.
 
"Everyone comes here and is so happy to be here. I think that's the best part. All the coaches are happy to see you. When you're having a bad day, they always make it better. That's why I'm glad to come here, it's like my therapy. Softball is my therapy and they help me with all that," Cantu.
 
A senior at Bishop Dunne Catholic School, Cantu has been participating in Academy programming for over a year now. (Video of Cantu discussing her experience at the Academy is available here). 
 
Over the summer, she played in the Academy's RBI summer league and earned a spot on the All-Star squad that traveled to Austin to represent the Rangers Academy in the RBI Southwest Regionals.
 
"It was such a great experience. I got to meet new girls and now we're like best friends," Cantu said. "You grow as a person, you grow as a softball player, and you learn a lot."
 
Growing as a person and as a softball player is a theme for the catcher and third baseman, who credits the game with helping prepare her to learn from her mistakes.
 
"Being on the field, there are mistakes that do happen. Not everybody's perfect, so missing a grounder, missing a call, that happens in life. Even the pros do it, it happens, but you have to move on because there's still a whole game," Cantu explained. 
 
While Cantu is honing her craft at the Academy in hopes of walking on at a college softball program next year, she is also thinking about plans for the future outside of the game - including a degree in business and marketing with an eye on helping to franchise the family bakery. 
 
Not just focusing on softball at the Academy, Cantu also takes advantages of volunteer opportunities through the program. And she's also focused on passing down the lessons she's learned at the Academy to her younger teammates.
 
"You have to learn how to lead others. Also to grow from your mistakes. That every day is a new day. I think there's a lot of things that you can learn from softball and I feel like the girls who are growing up, they will soon find that there's a lot that goes into softball. There's more than just being on the field and taking a grounder. You have to learn off the field - how to join as a team, as a whole, so when someone's off, the whole team is off," Cantu said.
 
With a 5-year-old brother who's just beginning his own journey at the Academy, Cantu is enjoying every minute of her own Academy experience as long as she can.
 
"I always look forward to practices here," Cantu said. "Everyone's so happy to come back. When I go through my days at school, I'm like 'I really want to go to practice.' I've been on so many teams and haven't been so happy to go to practice, but when I come here, it's like a whole different story. It's like coming to my family and playing ball together."

The Winter Academy Training Session is slated to begin Monday, January 14. Training will be available for baseball and softball players ages 7 through 18. 
 
Camp for the 18U athletes will run on Monday and Wednesday nights from 6:00-8:00 p.m. 
 
On Tuesday and Thursday nights, training will be available to the 12U athletes, also from 6:00-8:00 p.m.
 
Programming runs through Thursday, February 28.
 
Registration is now available at https://texasrangersya.leagueapps.com/camps.

For aspiring photographer and entrepreneur Natalia Cantu, growing her softball game is just one benefit to spending time at The Texas Rangers MLB Youth Academy at Mercy Street Sports Complex, Presented by Toyota.
 
"Everyone comes here and is so happy to be here. I think that's the best part. All the coaches are happy to see you. When you're having a bad day, they always make it better. That's why I'm glad to come here, it's like my therapy. Softball is my therapy and they help me with all that," Cantu.
 
A senior at Bishop Dunne Catholic School, Cantu has been participating in Academy programming for over a year now. (Video of Cantu discussing her experience at the Academy is available here). 
 
Over the summer, she played in the Academy's RBI summer league and earned a spot on the All-Star squad that traveled to Austin to represent the Rangers Academy in the RBI Southwest Regionals.
 
"It was such a great experience. I got to meet new girls and now we're like best friends," Cantu said. "You grow as a person, you grow as a softball player, and you learn a lot."
 
Growing as a person and as a softball player is a theme for the catcher and third baseman, who credits the game with helping prepare her to learn from her mistakes.
 
"Being on the field, there are mistakes that do happen. Not everybody's perfect, so missing a grounder, missing a call, that happens in life. Even the pros do it, it happens, but you have to move on because there's still a whole game," Cantu explained. 
 
While Cantu is honing her craft at the Academy in hopes of walking on at a college softball program next year, she is also thinking about plans for the future outside of the game - including a degree in business and marketing with an eye on helping to franchise the family bakery. 
 
Not just focusing on softball at the Academy, Cantu also takes advantages of volunteer opportunities through the program. And she's also focused on passing down the lessons she's learned at the Academy to her younger teammates.
 
"You have to learn how to lead others. Also to grow from your mistakes. That every day is a new day. I think there's a lot of things that you can learn from softball and I feel like the girls who are growing up, they will soon find that there's a lot that goes into softball. There's more than just being on the field and taking a grounder. You have to learn off the field - how to join as a team, as a whole, so when someone's off, the whole team is off," Cantu said.
 
With a 5-year-old brother who's just beginning his own journey at the Academy, Cantu is enjoying every minute of her own Academy experience as long as she can.
 
"I always look forward to practices here," Cantu said. "Everyone's so happy to come back. When I go through my days at school, I'm like 'I really want to go to practice.' I've been on so many teams and haven't been so happy to go to practice, but when I come here, it's like a whole different story. It's like coming to my family and playing ball together."

The Winter Academy Training Session is slated to begin Monday, January 14. Training will be available for baseball and softball players ages 7 through 18. 
 
Camp for the 18U athletes will run on Monday and Wednesday nights from 6:00-8:00 p.m. 
 
On Tuesday and Thursday nights, training will be available to the 12U athletes, also from 6:00-8:00 p.m.
 
Programming runs through Thursday, February 28.
 
Registration is now available at https://texasrangersya.leagueapps.com/camps.

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