Academy Notebook: Academy athletes set for summer of opportunities

May 17th, 2019

The Texas Rangers MLB Youth Academy at Mercy Street Sports Complex, presented by Toyota, is all about providing opportunities for young athletes throughout the DFW Metroplex. One such opportunity has come in the form of girls playing baseball.

Academy participant Tatyana Beltran has been invited to participate in the inaugural Girls Baseball Breakthrough Series in Vero Beach, Florida, from June 15-18. The event is a joint effort on behalf of USA Baseball (USAB) and Major League Baseball designed to serve as a platform for players looking to pursue baseball at the next level.

Players will benefit from competitive play, video coverage, seminars, and mentorship while being seen by U.S. National Team scouts and collegiate recruiters. Additionally, participants will hear from women throughout baseball and receive instruction from current and former members of the U.S. Women’s National team.

This is not Beltran’s first time participating in an MLB initiative for women in baseball. The Life Waxahachie sophomore, who plays baseball in the Rangers Academy RBI League, also played in the first ever MLB Grit Invitational for high school girls to play baseball. Grit was held at Globe Life Park and the Academy in March.

Beltran will not be the only athlete representing the Rangers at MLB's summer Breakthrough Series and Elite Development Invitational Events.

Destiny Castillo (eighth grade, Reed Middle School), Miranda Lopez (sophomore, Woodrow Wilson High School) and Samantha Rodriguez (junior, Townview High School) were selected for the Elite Development Invitational, which will be held July 12-16 in Vero Beach, Florida. EDI is a five-day camp serving as an extended version of the Breakthrough Series. The intense program mirrors the USA Softball Women's National team's training camps.

Meanwhile, it was previously announced that Melanie Henderson-Lopez (junior, Irving High School) and Erin Ledesma (junior, Irma Rangel Young Women's Leadership School) will participate in the Breakthrough Series at the Kansas City Royals Urban Youth Academy from May 23-27.

On the baseball side, Colin Moore (eighth grade, Rogers Middle School) and Austin Philips (eighth grade, Young Men's Leadership Academy) have been invited to participate in the re-branded Hank Aaron Invitational, formerly known as the Elite Development Invitational. The unique amateur development event is a youth-oriented, on-field diversity initiative aiming to help high school-age players from diverse backgrounds to the next levels of the game. It will take place July 21-25 in Vero Beach, Florida. 

And it was previously announced that Ricky Rangel (junior, Duncanville high school) and Joshua Marcellus (junior, Sachse High School) will participate in the Breakthrough Series at the Compton Youth Academy in Compton, California, from June 21-23.

Pitch Hit & Run results

The Academy hosted the sectional round of the Scotts Major League Baseball Pitch Hit & Run competition Saturday, May 11. Several Academy participants won their age groups for a chance to advance to the Team Championship competition. 

Ernesto Verdin (Molina High School) emerged the overall 14U baseball champion, while Rihanna Ramirez (Inspired Vision Academy) was the overall 12U softball champion. Both Verdin and Ramirez participate in Rangers Academy programming and play in the Academy's RBI league.

Another Academy participant, Aaliyah Ramirez (Inspired Vision Academy), won the 8U softball competition. Aaliyah is the younger sister of Rihanna. 

Each of the sectional winners will now have their times compared to other sectional winners from the market. The top three scorers in each division age group will advance to the Team Championship competition at Globe Life Park on June 8.

Pitch Hit & Run is the official skills competition of MLB. Participants in the free event compete in either baseball or softball and have the opportunity to advance through four levels of competition including Locals, Sectionals, Team Championships, and the National Finals during MLB All-Star Week.

MLB Team Championships are held at all 30 MLB ballparks during the month of June. Finalists from that round earn a trip to MLB All-Star Week.

Here before you know it

Registration is already open at for the Academy Summer Training Program. Session A will last from June 4-28, and Session B will run from July 23-Aug. 16.

 Summer Camp is Tuesday through Friday mornings from 9:30 a.m.-12 p.m.

RBI rolling

The 2019 Texas Rangers Youth Academy RBI Summer League kicked off May 6. The Rangers Academy RBI League fields 10 senior division baseball teams, three junior division baseball teams, and 10 softball teams.

Athletes who participate in the RBI program also have the opportunity to work towards trying out to become Academy RBI All-Stars, traveling to represent the Academy in the RBI Southwest Regional and potentially beyond.

RBI baseball and softball schedules are below. Scheduling is subject to change. With rain in the forecast for this weekend, scheduling changes will be posted to the @RangersYA Twitter and social media platforms.