Springtime’s crack of the bats, the pounding of leather and the chants from the dugouts of both boys and girls enhance the baseball/softball experience – especially in the Valley, where so many players have had amazing seasons.
Below are the finalists for Baseball and Softball Athletes of the Year. Winners will be announced today at the All-Valley Sports Awards Banquet, co-presented by DHR Health and Lone Star National Bank. Finalists are listed in alphabetical order.
Mia Anzaldua, Brownsville Veterans, Senior
Anzaldua went 19-3 with a 0.34 ERA and 290 strikeouts this season, leading Veterans to the District 32-5A title. She set the school’s single-season record for strikeouts and breaking former standout Cassie Valdez’s career strikeout mark at 688 as well. At the plate, she had a .412 average with 47 hits and 49 RBIs, 33 runs scored and 11 doubles.
Erika Cortez, Rio Hondo, Senior
Rio Hondo’s senior pitcher made an immediate impact for the Lady Bobcats. Upon her arrival in Rio Hondo, the team went 13-1 in district play along, earning its sixth straight district title. Cortez led the Lady Bobcats in the third round of the playoffs.
Krystal Gonzales, Harlingen South, Senior
Shortstop Krystal Gonzales provided the Lady Hawks with a steady hand at shortstop and batted in the middle of the Lady Hawks’ order. She had a .480 batting average, with 49 hits, 58 runs scored, eight home runs and 12 doubles in 38 games while leading the Hawks to the postseason.
Ramsey Amador, Edinburg Vela, Senior
Edinburg Vela senior shortstop Ramsey Amador led the SaberCats to the 31-6A district championship with a perfect 12-0 record and 27-6-2 overall. The UTRGV commit had a .467 batting average, 38 RBIs, 31 runs, four home runs and an on-base percentage of .557. Amador, who also serves as the team’s closer, had a 1.62 ERA, a 1-0 record and two saves in seven appearances for Edinburg Vela. He also struck out 26 batters in 17 1/3 innings.
Aaron Nixon, McAllen High, Junior
McAllen High junior pitcher Aaron Nixon was a stud on the mound and at the plate for the Bulldogs as he had a 7-2 record as a starter and a 1.08 ERA to go with his Valley best 137 strikeouts. Nixon only surrendered 11 earned runs on the year and led McAllen High to the second round of the playoffs. As a hitter, the University of Texas commit hit .492, scored 43 runs and had 18 RBIs. McAllen High finished second in 30-6A with a 10-4 district record and a mark of 25-10-1 overall.
Nico Rodriguez, Edinburg Vela, Senior
Edinburg Vela senior pitcher Nico Rodriguez was dominant nearly every time he took the mound as the Kansas State commit finished with a 12-1 record in 13 starts. Rodriguez had a Valley best .064 ERA, struck out 121 batters and only surrendered seven earned runs in 77 innings. At the plate, Rodriguez batted .250, had 24 RBIs and three home runs. He helped lead his team to the 31-6A title with a perfect 12-0 district record and 27-6-2 overall. He led the SaberCats to a third-round playoff appearance, winning all three of his postseason starts, including a second round Game 1 win over McAllen High.
The banquet, hosted by RGVSports.com and AIM Media Texas in conjunction with the RGV Sports Hall of Fame, will see 33 awards presented to athletes, coaches and teams across all 12 UIL sports. The prestigious Tom Landry Award of Excellence will honor a student athlete for outstanding achievements.
Dallas Cowboys great Randy White, a Super Bowl MVP and NFL Hall of Famer, will be the guest speaker.
The banquet, which will run approximately 6 to 8 p.m., returns to Mario’s for a second consecutive year. The venue has a seating capacity of more than 500 people. Tickets are on sale for $40 per person. For sponsorship opportunities, call Marcia Kitten at (956) 683-4463 or email mkitten@aimmediatx.