Last Saturday, the Youth Academy’s very own Ximena Zamarron earned her spot on Mexico’s Junior National Team. Zamarron spent her week celebrating as the newest member of Team Mexico, an accomplishment reserved for softball’s top athletes.

Zamarron was first introduced to the sport at just four years old. Her parents noticed her interest in softball when she insisted on joining her older sister during practice. She began playing baseball and eventually transitioned into a stand-out softball player.

“I remember the first time I got to see Ximena play was right here on the Adrian Beltre indoor field,” said Juan Leonel Gárciga, Director of Youth Baseball & Academy Programs. “I could hear something that was different from the other kids and when I looked, I saw a young girl in the cage hitting baseballs. I immediately went over to get a better look, and at just 13 years old she had a swing that was as good as any of the other girls at the facility, regardless of age.”

Zamarron credits the Rangers Youth Academy for presenting her with new opportunities and helping her realize goals like joining Mexico’s Junior National Team. “I’ve been going to the youth academy for four years now, and they honestly opened up a whole new softball world for me,” said Zamarron. Some of her Academy highlights include attending the All-Star game, representing the Rangers at numerous travel opportunities, often as the youngest player on the team, and the chance to get noticed as an elite athlete.

Zamarron made the journey to Anaheim, Calif. for the Mexico Junior National Team tryouts in early April. She participated in a series of intense infield drills with some of the strongest competition in the sport. “When I first got there, I was a little nervous because I knew I’d be going against the toughest competition, the best of the best girls,” said Zamarron. “I was thinking, I don’t know if I belong here, I don’t know if I’m good enough, but I just had to tell myself that I’m here for a reason, I’ve come this far for a reason.”

Zamarron recalled the support of her family and friends, pushed out thoughts of doubt and played her game. After the tryout, Ximena Zamarron was a member of Mexico’s Junior National Team. Her skill, determination and competitive attitude set her apart from the competition; she earned that spot.

“I’m so excited,” she said. “Making the team is a once in a lifetime opportunity that I get to experience. It means the most to me knowing that I get to represent my great grandparents, grandparents and my Mexican heritage.”

Beyond the meaningful opportunity to represent her ancestors, Zamarron is excited about the variety of new experiences she will encounter as a player on Mexico’s Junior National Team. “I’m looking to win against other countries, get to know the girls better and see how they play,” she said. “The only way to get better is playing with the best girls and better competition.

“I’m also looking forward to traveling and going to new places, experiencing different cultures and traditions, and soaking up this once in a lifetime experience.”

The entire Texas Rangers Youth Academy is incredibly proud to have impacted a player like Zamarron as she takes this giant leap in her playing career. “We always knew, if softball was something that she wanted to do, if she loved to play, that there really wasn’t, and isn’t a ceiling as to what she can achieve,” said Gárciga. “I could easily see her advancing from a junior national team to one day potentially playing on the national team.

“She’s not committed anywhere to go to college yet, and hopefully, this opportunity will elevate her profile and open some coach’s eyes. She has tremendous energy, talent, attitude and everything that a coach looks for in a player. Any school would be lucky to add her to their program.”

Zamarron will continue her journey on Mexico’s Junior National Team as she travels for practice and plays in their opening qualifiers in Peru and Columbia.

Can’t Miss April Events

Baseball season is finally here, and the fun is just getting started at the Texas Rangers Youth Academy. This April, the Academy invites its participants to compete in the Jr. Home Run Derby and the Pitch, Hit & Run competition. Registration for both events is open to all Academy athletes ages 7-14, and participation is free.

The Texas Rangers Youth Academy will host the 2021 Jr. Home Run Derby on Saturday, April 24, followed by Pitch, Hit & Run on Thursday, April 29.

Participating athletes will compete with the opportunity to advance to the Finals at the Fall Classic scheduled to take place at the 2021 World Series. The Finals of the fifth annual Jr. Home Run Derby will feature 16 young athletes who have advanced from regional competitions. The Finals for the 25th annual Pitch, Hit & Run will include the top three baseball and softball participants from four age divisions (7-8, 9-10, 11-12 and 13-14).

Notable alumni of the Pitch, Hit & Run competition include the Texas Rangers’ very own Joey Gallo.

Thousands of local competitions will be held across the U.S. and Canada this spring, summer and fall. In 2019, more than 625,000 youth from the U.S. and Canada participated in more than 4,500 Pitch, Hit & Run competitions and 1,500 Jr. Home Run Derby competitions. The competition will be plentiful, and the Texas Rangers Youth Academy is excited to showcase our talented athletes.

Texas Rangers Youth Academy participants can register for the Jr. Home Run Derby on April 24 here and participants can register for Pitch, Hit & Run on April 29 here.

High School Baseball & Softball Schedule

Below is the schedule of the remaining Pinkston, Sunset and Thomas Jefferson High School baseball and softball games to be played at the Academy in April. Scheduling is subject to change.

For the fourth straight year, Pinkston High School baseball and softball teams are calling the Academy home. The Sunset High School baseball and softball squad will also join them in playing their 2021 home games at the facility again this year.

This is also the second season Thomas Jefferson High School baseball and softball teams are playing their home games at the Academy after their fields were damaged by the October 2019 tornadoes that hit Dallas.