Baseball and softball have become sports that are all about power – power pitching and power hitting. Even though speed and strong defense can be just as critical, if you have an abundance of the other two you can go deep into the postseason at any level.
The Valley has several baseball and softball players with all sorts of power, from the mound and at the plate – many from both. Below are the finalists for the Softball and Baseball Players of the Year. Winners will be announced June 13 at the All-Valley Sports Awards Banquet, co-presented by DHR Health and Lone Star National Bank. Finalists are listed in alphabetical order.
SOFTBALL PLAYEROF THE YEAR
Mia Anzaldua, Brownsville Veterans: Anzaldua is a pitcher for the 32-5A champions. Anzaldua went 19-3 with a 0.34 ERA and 290 strikeouts this season, setting 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, 47 hits and 49 RBIs, with 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 has the Lady Bobcats in the third round of the playoffs.
Krystal Gonzales, Harlingen South, Senior: Gonzales, South’s shortstop, provided the Hawks with a steady hand defensively and bats in the middle of the Hawks’ order. She had a .480 batting average, with 49 hits, 58 runs scored, eight home runs and 12 doubles in 38 games. Gonzales led the team 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. (2)
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 email@example.com.