Warriors’ Garza excited to join friends in college

Santa Rosa's Mike Bermea prepares to carry the Texas state flag onto the field during pregame introductions prior to a District 32-3A game against Odem on Sept. 27, 2019 in Odem.

HARLINGEN – Ryan Garza gets asked often what his favorite sport is. The senior was the starting shortstop and a pitcher for the Santa Rosa baseball team, and a corner/wide receiver for the Warriors’ football team.

He and four of his teammates will attend Graceland University in the fall, where he will play both sports.

“People ask me all the time (which is my main sport),” Garza said. “But I would have to say both.”

Garza said he was excited for the opportunity to join childhood friends and longtime teammates Mike Bermea, Adam Cavazos, Jose Ruiz and Ethan De La Garza at Graceland, a small private Christian university located 80 miles south of Des Moines, Iowa. The Yellowjackets compete in the NAIA’s Heart of America Conference.

Like three of his teammates, he will major in criminal justice.

“(Garza) is just a solid kid,” Santa Rosa defensive coordinator Pablo De Los Santos said. “He’ll come and hit you in the face. He’s one of those tough kids, but he’s always smiling. He had very good practice habits every day, and it was good to watch him play every Friday night.”

On the diamond, Garza was the Warriors’ leadoff man, and he shared the infield with double-play partner and second baseman Mike Bermea.

Santa Rosa baseball coach Tony Leal credited his shortstop for having a positive outlook no matter what adversity he faced on the field and being “very cordial.”

Also, Garza was one of the top arms in Leal’s rotation, stepping up after several top pitchers departed following the 2019 season.

“We had to develop some other kids,” Leal said. “Ryan, last year at the end of the season, started throwing really well with very little experience on the mound. He’s gotten better and better.”

Stefan Modrich Total Posts: 158 Stefan Modrich is a 2017 graduate of Arizona State University, where he was the Sports Editor for The State Press, ASU's independent student news publication. He is also a graduate of the University of Zagreb in Croatia, where he completed a foreign language program in 2018. A native of Franklin Park, Illinois, Modrich previously covered high school sports for The Arizona Republic, Chicago Tribune, and Mars Reel Media.