The college signing period continued last week and these days, the Jags are right in the middle of the action, proud as can be at the recent fecundity the program has displayed.
Friday a pair of baseball stars inked pacts to attend Jarvis Christian, where they will join a couple of teammates, one former and one current. A nice crowd of well wishers turned out to see Ismael Lopez and Gerardo de Leon join the Bulldog clan, with catcher Ralphie Galvan having already signed with the school, earlier this month. Those three Jag leaders under Coach Rigo Sanchez will join former Orange standout Frankie Montano up in East Texas.
Sanchez noted that Montano has done well up there, and perhaps started a pipeline for the East Side diamond kids.
“Frankie’s done a good job, and these guys went up there and the coach liked what he saw,” said Sanchez, who led the Jags to the playoffs this season for the first time since 2003. “There has been positive feedback about our kids, Jarvis is receptive so we do not hesitate to take advantage of it.”
Together, Lopez and de Leon, know as “Mayo” and “Gera,” respectively, formed a potent 1-2 punch for four seasons, as the backbone of the program’s gradual resurgence. They know that their success in earning scholarships speaks well of the program. And it also illustrates that the school has come on strong in recent years, as far as sports is concerned.
“It’s going to be a different level, but we know that and we’re ready to show we can make it,” said Lopez, a burly right-hander who won the city MVP award as a senior. “This is something I have been working for since I was a small kid, so it’s great to be going away to play.”
De Leon, a hard-hitting third baseman who can also pitch, agreed, saying that his lifelong dream has always been to play college baseball.
“I just think the experience will be a good one, we will have the opportunity to get better,” he explained. “This is a big step, and we want to use this chance that we are getting.”
Principal Anthony Garza spoke at the ceremony, lauding the athletic exploits of the pair, reminding the assembled guests that Lopez and de Leon are also going to earn bachelors degrees.
“The guys who are still with us next year, they will have big shoes to fill,” he added.
During the happy afternoon, both stars spoke to the crowd, de Leon giving part of his address in Spanish. He thanked his parents for all the help they gave him, as did Lopez.
Football coach and AD Gabe Pena – who would have loved to get these two specialists on the football field – suggested that they will be successful at the next level.
“They’re good in the class room and they have had strong family support,” he noted. “They’re confident in their abilities and will fit in socially, adapt in that respect too. It just shows that our school is doing very well lately in producing college-ready student-athletes. We couldn’t be happier about that.”