MISSION — Sharyland Pioneer’s Evan Maldonado has turned into the Diamondbacks’ Mr. Everything.
Last year as a junior, Maldonado played all over the diamond and he delivered everywhere he went with a .408 batting average, 45 RBIs, 36 runs scored, two home runs, while going 8-0 as a pitcher with five complete game performances.
His play resulted in being named to the Texas High School Baseball Coaches Association All-State second team.
On Wednesday, Maldonado, a four-year baseball letterman, signed a national letter of intent to continue his baseball career at the University of Houston.
“This has been one of my goals since I was a kid, so it’s crazy how it’s actually happening,” Maldonado said.
The senior was part of last season’s state tournament-qualifying Diamondbacks squad, the first Rio Grande Valley team to advance that far in the playoffs since Harlingen South in 2007.
This year, Maldonado has also taken his game to the football field, and he’s produced there too with 20 receptions for 292 yards, two receiving touchdowns, and two kickoff returns for Diamondbacks touchdowns.
Pioneer won its first outright district championship by finishing the regular season 9-1 overall, but now the Diamondbacks are onto the postseason — a place Maldonado hopes to put together another playoff run just like he did in baseball.
“It’s pretty cool. We went to state in baseball, then we’re hopefully going to go deep in the playoffs for football, so it’s been a hell of a year, if I do say so myself,” he said.
Pioneer head baseball coach Casey Smith praised Maldonado’s growth and leadership on and off the field.
“He’s grown tremendously, not just physically, but also in the mental side of the game learning how to process things,” Smith said. “You’ve seen a big maturity jump from him, and I think that’s manifested itself right now — and obviously with his performance on the football field — we’re looking forward to what he can do on the baseball field this year for us.”
Sam Maldonado, Evan’s father, said he’s happy to see his son’s hard work lead to his signing with the Houston Cougars.
“It’s exciting. All the weekends of playing ball, the extra time he’s putting in, the drive that he’s got, it’s paid off,” the older Maldonado said. “We always knew he could do it. With Evan, it was always about proving folks wrong, and he’s doing it all on his own.”
And what exactly are Evan Madlonado’s goals once he gets to Houston in 2020?
“I’m trying to go to Omaha or win a national championship,” he said.