He’s a guy who has paid his dues, gone through an ample share of trials in a two-sport career, and now, Adam Alviso is reaping the benefits of hard work, perseverance, and belief in his abilities.
The burly Vela senior has already signed to attend Northeast Texas Junior College in Mt., Pleasant, but the way he has performed in 2018, there may be other options on the table. Alviso, who pitched the SaberCats to a 7-4 victory at EHS Thursday, also hammered a three-run triple to help himself at the dish. Now 6-0 for the season, the side-arming hurler is seeing nothing but blue skies lately.
“There was a time when I was thinking of not playing baseball anymore,” said Alviso, who was a linebacker and sometime offensive guard for the SaberCats football effort over several seasons. “But I stuck with it, finally got the chance to show what I could do on the mound, and the rest has taken care of itself.”
The senior veteran has a sneaky curve ball and elusive slider to go with a solid fastball, and his unorthodox delivery – not quite a submarine style such as Kent Tekulve used in the 1970s for the Pittsburgh Pirates, but definitely a side-arm lean – makes him tough to locate.
EHS scraped and clawed its way to a number of opportunities in the early going but could not score off Alviso until the sixth, when senior infielder Jesse Garcia (2 for 5, some slick plays in the field) knocked in two with a double. By then, it was 7-2, thanks to Alviso’s liner down the left field line that sliced away from the defense for a base-clearing clout in the team’s 5-run fifth.
First-place Vela (8-1 with the win) had gotten single tallies in the first (a Nico Rodriguez RBI double) and third (leadoff triple from outfielder Matt de la Cruz, who scored on a wild pitch).
But they could not break it open off freshman righty Jorge Salinas until the fifth, when two walks and four hits got the ball rolling. For the night, the teams collected a whopping 17 free passes, and the Bobcats (4-5) suffered through another creditable effort ending in defeat. EHS left 12 on base against Vela, which got relief work from Marc Esquivel and Andre Martinez in support of Alviso, who went 5 2/3 innings and fanned five.
“Story of our season,” said Bobcat Coach Robert Valdez about his young club. “We can get some runners on but we are having trouble getting the key hits. There is no substitute for experience and we just don’t have a lot of it this season.”
The base-on-balls barrage made this one a bit slow-paced, in contrast to the barnburners fans have enjoyed from the four-team Rivalry round robin so far in 2018. But there were highlights from each side.
The Bobcats kept close thanks to a double play turned 6-4-3, which first baseman E.J. Alanis completed in the second with a smart scoop. EHS had a runner nailed at the plate at the end of a botched suicide squeeze attempt in its half of the second, but seemed ready to challenge in the fourth when Salinas hit nicely behind the runner on a hit-and-run single to right field. But Alviso worked out of the jam as shortstop Ramsey Amador sailed back to get a blooper in short left field and then fired to first to double the ‘Cat runner.
The Bobcat woes in the clutch sometimes include sheer luck, mainly bad. In the fifth they loaded the bases when Salinas shot one foul down the left field line, barely missing an extra-base hit that would have changed the complexion of the contest.
Alviso noted that he has received interest from Hill College in Hillsboro, as a pitcher, while NE Texas wants him as a utility man; he’s caught before, played some third, and some first. Then there are the scouts from UTRGV, who have been active in expressing interest.
“You never know, I might be able to get to stay here and play at UTRGV,” he smiled. “That would be alright too. Anywhere I can go where they want me, I’ll go.”
The Sabes peppered Southwest unmercifully Friday, winning 17-3 to advance to 9-1 in district with games against Memorial and Pharr North on tap this week. The Raiders socked it to North Friday, 12-2, leaving those two tied in third at 7-3, behind P-SJ-A at 8-2. EHS scored a season-high 20 runs in clobbering Memorial and at 5-5 the ’Cats have the Bears Tuesday and then North, with a chance to roil the race. The Coogs work against 2-8 Econ Tuesday and as stated, EHS Friday.
Vela has now scored 10 or more runs six times in 10 district tries and averages 11.9 runs per game. Econ’s Peter Molina hit a home run for the Jags as they defeated Memorial, 6-0 Tuesday. As North got past Southwest Tuesday, 3-2 (a harbinger perhaps of the troubling blowout loss to the Raiders three days later), Frankie Zuniga went the distance on the hill, striking out eight.