Dec. 11, 2006
The UTPA baseball program received an early Christmas present on Monday (Dec. 11) when head coach Willie Gawlik announced that the Broncs have bolstered their future roster with four players signing National Letters of Intent.
Three of the four players that signed a National Letter of Intent come from Corpus Christi, TX, where the trio played for state-power Moody High School while the fourth signee coming from Highland Park High School.
Andrew Perez (Corpus Christi, TX/Moody H.S.) will help the Broncs fill the middle of the infield as the Moody shortstop was selected as the team's Defensive Player of the Year this past season. The newly-signed Bronc batted .356 this past season en route to earning all-district honors for the first time in his career.
"Andrew can play anywhere in the infield, which makes him a very valuable player. His defense is outstanding, and he handles the bat very well," said Gawlik.
Joey Mendoza (Corpus Christi, TX/Moody H.S.) is the second part of the Moody High School infield to sign with the Broncs, and the newly-signed standout was selected as the Newcomer of the Year for his prep squad as a sophomore. A three-year starter, Mendoza finished with a .340 batting average during his junior campaign en route to earning all-district honors.
"We look for Joey to come in and make an immediate contribution. He can play all the infield positions, plays good defense and does a good job at the plate. He will be a valuable asset to our program," Gawlik added.
A.J. Franco (Corpus Christi, TX/Moody H.S.) was the third member of the Moody High School program to sign a National Letter of Intent with the Broncs. This past season, Franco handled the duties in the bullpen for Moody, but will make the transition to the starting rotation in his final campaign.
"A.J. has a lot of upside on the mound, and can be a starter, middle reliever or closer for us. He is a very competitive person, and we look for him to make a contribution on the mound immediately," said Gawlik.
The three standouts to sign with the Broncs come from a high school program that captured a trio of district championships, two regional crowns, a single Final Four appearance and a Texas State Championship during their careers.
Evan Blakely (Dallas, TX/Highland Park H.S.) will come to the Rio Grande Valley from Highland Park High School after spending his first three prep seasons at Irving Cistercian Prep School. The newly-signed Bronc was selected as the Most Valuable Player for Irving Cistercian Prep School during his career and also played for the McKinney Marshalls during the fall of 2006.
"Evan has a great future on the mound, and he transferred to a great program at Highland Park where he should be an impact player for them immediately. We look for him to make an immediate impact in our program during his freshman season," said Gawlik.
Perez, Mendoza, Franco and Blakely will join a UTPA baseball program that finished with a 24-29 record during the 2006 campaign and will begin their careers with the Broncs during the 2007-08 academic campaign.
UTPA Sports Information