SAN DIEGO — A.J. Barrera, Adriel Elizondo and Joe Gallegos helped the San Diego baseball team reach the playoffs for the first time in more than two decades.
The senior trio now hopes to provide the same kind of spark at Wayland Baptist University.
Barrera, Elizondo and Gallegos are headed to the NAIA school in Plainview after signing national letters of intent on Tuesday. After blazing a path for the Vaqueros, the three don’t plan on letting up now.
“We’re expecting to go up there and make some noise,” Elizondo said.
They did in San Diego this season.
Expected to spend another season in the cellar, the Vaqueros went on to finish third in District 31-2A. That earned San Diego its first postseason berth in 22 years, but the Vaqueros didn’t stop there.
San Diego then swept Santa Rosa 12-4 and 14-3 in bi-district – its first playoff victories in 25 years. The Vaqueros went on to lose to Luling 7-2 in the second round, but that hardly mattered after exceeding so many expectations.
“Since we were kids, everybody helped build it up,” Gallegos said of the program. “We waited for our senior year for a long time. We took control and did what we had to do.”
The hard work earned a look from the Wayland Baptist coaching staff after watching highlight videos of all three. A visit to the campus and a good showing during a workout in front of coaches is all it took to seal the deal.
The opportunity made Elizondo recall a memory from freshman year.
“When we were freshmen one of the softball girls signed. I remember thinking, ‘Man, I can’t wait to get to my senior year.’ Now it’s here and it’s crazy,” Elizondo said. “My heart is pounding. It feels good.”
So does Barrera.
“It’s been a dream of mine ever since I could hold a bat,” Barrera said. “We had a good a season. I’m glad it ended the way it did.”
The three were assisted in getting to Wayland by Michael Collins, the scouting director for GameDay Recruiting Service in Alice.