The Nogales High School baseball team will see two of its players move on to play at Arizona Christian University next fall.
Right-handed pitcher Aidan Jimenez and lefty hurler Jesus Miranda signed their letters of intent Thursday afternoon, committing to continue their athletic and academic careers at the collegiate level.
“One of the things that we always say is, ‘Play the game and open the door for other people’… When coaches see how Nogales kids play baseball, they’re going to want other kids from Nogales, as well,” head coach O.J. Favela said during the signing ceremony at NHS.
“When they go up there, not only are they representing themselves, but you’re opening up the door for other people and I thank you guys for that,” the coach said.
Favela took special pride that Jimenez and Miranda will be among 17 NHS alumni playing baseball at the college and professional levels nationwide next fall.
Aside from their athletic successes, Favela pointed out that the two have proven to be exemplary students in the classroom.
Moving onto college, Jimenez said he plans to major in business.
“I’ve seen the success that people have had,” Jimenez said, adding that he hopes to someday open up his own produce warehouse or business. “It’s something that I’ve always wanted to do, so I’m going to keep following it.”
He added that he expects both his academics and sports activities to become more intense and challenging in the coming year, but said he’s ready to work hard in both areas.
“I’ve always put in the work. I’ve always put in 110 percent,” he said. “But if I don’t make it, I’ll be happy with what I majored in.”
Miranda agreed that it would be a challenge to adapt to the “different environment from high school games to college games,” but expressed equal excitement for the new experience.
“I’m going to be majoring in sport management,” he said. “If baseball doesn’t work out, I want to have a bachelor’s in sport management to be a little bit closer to what I love – baseball. If baseball does work, I’ll be glad to play it professionally.”
ACU is a small, private four-year university based in Glendale. Its Firestorm baseball team is part of the Golden State Athletic Conference of the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA).