MISSION — Talking to those who know Mission High senior Steve Villarreal, one quickly learns that he’s the ultimate competitor.
Name the game, Villarreal can’t stand to lose, and will do everything in his power to come out with a win.
“You have to compete in everything you do, and my dad motivates me the most. He always says you have to be competitive to succeed, so that’s what I try to do every time,” Villarreal said.
That competitive nature from Villarreal, a standout on both the diamond and football field, is what led to his signing a national letter of intent to play baseball at UTRGV on Wednesday in the Mission High School gym in front of family, friends, teammates and coaches.
Mission High head football coach Koy Detmer said Villarreal’s competitive edge is what he’ll remember about him the most.
“The thing about Stevie that I’ll always carry on is he’s a great competitor. We’ve seen him in different situations, he’s one of those guys that can raise his game to another level with the challenges, and he’ll continue to be that kind of guy,” Detmer said.
Villarreal plays with a fire on whichever field he takes, but on Wednesday, he was overwhelmed with emotion when thanking coaches, his parents, and his sisters who were right by his side, as they have been since the start of his journey.
“They’ve been there since I was 4 years old. Every time I would go out of town, my sisters would be there, my parents, sometimes even my grandpa and grandma would show up too, and that means a lot to me.”
Rick Lozano, Villarreal’s head baseball coach at Mission High, said what’s carried the senior to this point is his dedication to the game.
“He’s a special kid with a lot of talent and a very hard-worker,” Lozano said.
While Villarreal still has his senior season ahead of him, he’s looking forward to being able to play in front of his supporters in the Rio Grande Valley.
“I’m also going to be playing college ball here in the Valley, so a lot of friends, family, a lot of fans are going to be able to go out there and watch me play,” he said.
And for a kid who loves to win, he will be walking into a good situation at UTRGV as the Vaqueros are the defending Western Athletic Conference regular-season champions.
“Hopefully I can go out there and help them get another WAC title,” Villarreal said.