Rio Hondo’s Gonzalez signs with OLLU

RIO HONDO — Baseball has been an important part of Cross Gonzalez’s life since age 4.

Thanks to Monday’s college scholarship signing, it will continue to be that way for the standout shortstop/pitcher for the Rio Hondo Bobcats.

Gonzalez, a four-year starter and all-district performer, signed an athletic scholarship agreement to play next school year at San Antonio’s Our Lady of the Lake University, an NAIA Division I school.

The Saints are coached by Bryan Aughney, previously the coach at Harlingen High and also at the University of Texas at Brownsville/Texas Southmost College.

Monday’s signing took place at the high school cafeteria with family members, classmates, coaches and school officials on hand to witness the joyous event.

“This is an opportunity that most kids don’t get, so I’m very grateful for it,” said Gonzalez, whose father, Sergio Gonzalez, is the coach of the Bobcats. “It’s a life-long goal that I’m accomplishing, so I’m very, very thankful, especially to God. I really savor this moment because it’s an opportunity not everyone gets.

“It means a lot,” added Gonzalez, who ranks sixth in his class academically and plans to pursue a degree in business administration in college. “I’m also very grateful to my mom and dad, Marybel and Sergio Gonzalez, who really have kept me going throughout the years, and the rest of my family also.

“I would say my immediate family has been very helpful and supportive throughout this journey (to college).”

Primarily a shortstop who is projected as an infielder in college, Gonzalez batted approximately .430 for the season as a senior for the Bobcats. He had 12 RBIs during District 32-4A competition.

Gonzalez was the 32-4A offensive player of the year as a junior. He is expected to receive another of the top all-district honors this season. The selections for the 2019 season in 32-4A are pending.

Coming into the 2019 season, Gonzalez, who received all-state honors as a junior, was named one of the top 10 players in South Texas to watch as a senior in 4A.

Sergio Gonzalez, who just completed his 11th season as the Bobcats’ coach, said it has been one of his biggest joys to coach his son.

“I’m a very proud coach today, and an even prouder dad,” the Bobcats skipper said. “My son has been playing baseball year-round since he was 4, so it’s been a great investment for my wife and I, getting him to college (on a scholarship). He’s played throughout the Valley and throughout the state. He’s been around my teams since he was 7, so when he entered high school he was already pretty well-groomed (baseball-wise).

“This is a dream come true seeing him get a chance to play at the next level,” the coach added. “My son has a passion for the game. He has a big heart, and he’s always loved the game. He’s played multiple sports, but baseball has always been in him as his favorite.

“With his passion for baseball and academic standing as No. 6 in his class, he has really helped me out as a coach on the field. He’s a smart player. I’m really going to miss having him on the team.”

Cross said there’s a special bond between father and son.

“I played 103 games in four years for my dad here at Rio Hondo,” he said. “I can probably tell you at least one moment from all 103 games. I’ve never called him coach, either at home or on the field, it’s always been dad. Everyone in the district knew that. He’s always been my dad, and he’s always been my coach second.

“I’ve never called him anything but dad,” Cross added. “The expectations (playing for him) were always high, but again, it’s something that doesn’t happen for many kids. It’s been a great blessing to play for him. I couldn’t ask for more.”