Growing up as a Rangers fan, Tatyana Beltran always looked up to Pudge Rodriguez. On Friday, March 8, Beltran donned her own catchers gear and a jersey bearing the number 7 to catch a baseball game at Globe Life Park in Arlington.
“It was just the opportunity of a lifetime to get to play there,” Beltran said.
The Life Waxahachie sophomore and Rangers Youth Academy participant was one of more than 60 young women, ages 18 and under, who took part in the inaugural MLB GRIT High School Baseball Invitational hosted by Major League Baseball and USA Baseball at Globe Life Park and the Texas Rangers Youth Academy at Mercy Street Sports Complex, presented by Toyota, from March 7-10.
Beltran wasn’t the only Rangers Academy participant who was invited to play. She was joined by Sunset High School junior Alicia Gonzalez and Hillcrest High School freshman Ximena Zamarron.
Below is a look at each girl’s weekend, and a link to a video of them discussing the experience:
In the games: Beltran showed off her bat with some key hits and demonstrated her versatility by patrolling the outfield and appearing behind the plate.
On the biggest thing she learned from the experience: “Having the confidence in myself to go up and do my thing.”
Video of Beltran discussing her experience is available here.
In the games: Zamarron shined at second base, turning a pair of double plays while also chipping in with multiple hits at the plate.
On the biggest thing she learned from the experience: “Keep your head up. You can always control your attitude and effort. That can make a difference when your effort and attitude is always up. Also girls in baseball can make it to college, get a scholarship for baseball, and maybe go to MLB one day.”
Video of Zamarron discussing her experience is available here.
In the games: Gonzalez demonstrated her versatility, appearing at catcher, right field, and third base.
On the biggest thing she learned from the experience: “Never give up. Keep trying. And if I want to play baseball at the next level, I shouldn’t give up and let people bring me down. And I learned a lot about my blocking for catching.”
Video of Gonzalez discussing her experience is available here.
Headed to Arizona
The annual Spring Training tradition of Academy coaches heading to Spring Training to learn from members of the Texas Rangers staff at the Surprise Recreation Campus is slated for Thursday, March 21 and Friday, March 22.
Texas Rangers Director Youth Academy & Youth Baseball/Softball Programs Juan Leonel Garciga and fellow Academy coaches Sebastian Martinez, Edward Taylor, Roger Ibarra, and Orlando Prescott are all slated to make the trip.
“The Rangers coaching staff has been incredibly welcoming and excited to work with our staff and share some of the unique drills and concepts that they implement with the big club,” Garciga said. “Rewarding our Academy coaches with this behind-the-scenes experience is a tradition we are thrilled to continue for years to come.”
Game on for High School Baseball and Softball
The Pinkston Vikings are home Friday, March 15, to take on the Hillcrest Panthers on Oates Field at 3:30 p.m.
View the schedule of baseball games at the Academy. Scheduling is subject to change.
Pinkston softball returns to the Academy on Thursday, March 21, hosting Wilmer Hutchins.
Pinkston High School baseball and softball teams call the Academy home again in 2019. The facility also supports scheduling for David W. Carter High School and Sunset High School Baseball, in addition to Pinkston Middle School Softball. Various other Dallas ISD games and tournaments are played at the Academy throughout the year, too.
Put it on the calendar
The Academy’s Spring Training Programming begins Monday, March 18. Training will be held for 18U on Mondays and Wednesdays, while training for 12U will be held on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Activities are from 6-8 p.m.
Programming runs through May 2, and registration is available at rangers.com/academy.
Next stop: College fair
On Saturday, March 23, Academy staff will be taking interested participants to the NACA College Fair at Market Hall in Dallas, where over 150 colleges will be represented.
Transportation will be provided for registered students, with the group departing the Academy at 12:30 p.m.
Seats are limited and registration is available at rangers.com/academy.