USA Softball High-Performance Program National Selection Event
Last weekend, four Texas Rangers Youth Academy softball players participated in the USA Softball High-Performance Program National Selection Event in Mesquite, Texas.
A select group of the most elite athletes identified from USA Softball’s Southwest Regional event were extended invitations to attend the HPP National Selection Event, including Rangers Youth Academy athletes Ana Gonzalez, Savannah Vargas, Morgan Young and Ximena Zamarron.
Athletes took the field Saturday, Nov. 5, to participate in hitting, fielding and running drills for skill evaluations, followed by competitive gameplay. Throughout the event, players were assessed and scored on their abilities to classify above-average talent to join the 13U, 14U, 15U, 16U, 17U and 18U National Teams.
Current and former USA National Team members, including Ali Aguilar, Sam Fischer, Michelle Moultrie, Delaney Spaulding, Kelsey Stewart, Jordan Taylor and Haylie Wagner were on site to observe and evaluate the next generation of talent.
Following the conclusion of HPP National Selection Events across the country, USA Softball will extend invitations to top athletes to join age-specific National Teams for 2023, where they will compete at a World Baseball Softball Confederation international event.
Rangers Academy athletes reflect on World Series recognition
Nearly two weeks after their pre-game recognition at the World Series, Ana Gonzalez, Julie Gonzalez and Ximena Zamarron reflected on their unforgettable experience in Houston.
As part of Major League Baseball’s youth recognition before Game 2, dozens of young athletes from across the U.S. were flown to Houston to attend the Astros-Phillies World Series and sit amongst the sell-out crowd in Minute Maid Park.
Ana Gonzalez, who was named MLB Develops MVP at the Oklahoma City Breakthrough Series, said, “I loved every second of being in Houston.
“Getting to go on the field was kind of surreal. I was so excited to be able to walk onto the field to the point where my hands were shaking a little. Just to attend a World Series game was crazy, and I’m so grateful for the opportunity,” added Ana.
Ana was joined along the outfield wall by her fellow MLB Develops MVPs, and nearby was Ximena Zamarron, the Rangers 2022 Youth of the Year selection.
Zamarron was surprised with the news of her Rangers Youth Academy Youth of the Year award in mid-October and was one of 10 MLB Youth Academy Youth of the Year award-winners recognized. Surrounded by her fellow Youth of the Year winners in center field, Zamarron proudly showcased her Rangers team spirit by showing off her limited-edition By Way of Dallas varsity jacket.
Also on the field was Julie Gonzalez, the first-ever Rangers Youth Academy athlete to advance to the Pitch, Hit & Run National Finals, where she finished fourth in the 12U softball division.
“Being at the World Series was so much fun,” said Julie. “It was a once-in-a-lifetime experience and something I will never forget. Attending Game 2 was the best part of the trip. The crowd was so energetic and loud, like something I've never experienced before at a game, and I hope to do it again!”