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