Baseball taking Garza from Agua Dulce to the University of Houston

Pete Garcia pgarcia@gatehousemedia.com
With his parents and Agua Dulce coaches by his side, Randal Garza signed a scholarship to play baseball at the University of Houston Wednesday afternoon.

Sitting a gym-full of students, Maria Cortez was proud to share a quick story of Agua Dulce High School's greatest baseball player.

Cortez said she remembers Randal Garza's mom, Celia, being unsure if she should sign-up her little boy for tee-ball. He was only 4 at the time and had never played the game.

“She was like, ‘I don't know how he'll do. I don’t know if he’s going to like it,’” Cortez recalled.

Turns out Garza more than like baseball. He loved it, and on Wednesday, he made his decision to continue his baseball career at the University of Houston official at a signing ceremony at Agua Dulce High School.

Garza, with his parents and little sister and Agua Dulce coaches by his side, signed his scholarship paperwork from the University of Houston in front of the entire Agua Dulce ISD student body and faculty. A section filled with baseball and football teammates cheered as he began to sign. At the same time, the Agua Dulce High School drum line played a cadence.

“It’s exciting,” Garza said. “It’s a dream come true. Since I was a little kid, I’ve been dreaming of doing something this big and making my dream into a reality. U of H is close to home and they’ve been doing (well). They hosted the regional tournament just a couple of years ago. I felt it was the perfect place for me.”

Agua Dulce athletic director Robert Beard said the signing was not only an accomplishment for Garza, but for the entire community as well.

“This is something that means a lot to Randal,” Beard said. “It took a lot of hard work and time to get here. His parents spent a lot of time and finances to get him to this point. It’s an accomplishment that not only Randal’s parents can be proud of, but our entire community can be proud of. He’s signing a Div. I scholarship to go play baseball. That goes back to something we’ve talked about.. if you’ve got talent, you’ll go somewhere. It doesn't matter where you're from.”

Garza, a standout at the small Class 2A high school since his freshman season, first gave a verbal commitment to Houston last summer before his junior year. Garza gained plenty of exposure in the Houston area and the country that summer playing for the Banditos Baseball Club, which has a reputation in South Texas of helping young baseball talent to the next level.

Garza has also helped his cause while playing for the Longhorns. Garza was one of four South Texas high school players named on the Texas Sports Writers Association Class 2A all-state list for this past season. Garza made the team as a first baseman.

The honor is one in a long line of statewide accolades. Garza, a junior during the 2018 season, was named Second Team All-District recently by the Texas High School Baseball Coaches Association. Garza finished this past season as the District 31-2A Offensive Player of the Year. He was the Longhorns’ ace on the mound. He started at first base when not pitching.

As a sophomore at Agua Dulce High School in 2017, Garza was stellar. He ended the season with a .583 batting average and an on-base percentage of .658. He had 35 hits, 23 RBIs and 27 runs. Defensively, he had a .986 fielding percentage. He also proved to be one of the more dominant small-school pitchers in South Texas.

Garza was an all-state selection by the THSBCA. Garcia was named second team all-state as a first baseman. He was a first-team selection in 2016.

Garza, who again started at quarterback for the Longhorns this fall, has his senior baseball season left to play, and he said he plans to make the most of the opportunity.

“I just want to do the best that I can and lead the team to the playoffs,” Garza said. “I want to stay healthy and do the best that I can possibly do.”