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On the mound he had a perfect record. However, it was as a third baseman that Veterans Memorial High School’s (VMHS) Edward Peña received an honor that many covet but few receive. Peña has been named first team All-State by the Texas Sports Writers Association (TSWA).
Receiving this recognition his sophomore year makes his achievement all the more impressive. Only one other player did so this year in all of 5A, 4A, 3A, 2A and 1A baseball; that was first baseman Chris Andritsos from The Woodlands. Of the remaining honorees, 48 were seniors and 14 were juniors.
“Edward actually received three different All-State honors,” explained VMHS head baseball coach Casey Smith. “He received third team All-State honors as a pitcher from the Texas High School Baseball Coaches Association. He received First Team All-State honors in 4A as a third baseman from the TSWA and he received honorable mention All-State honors as a pitcher also from the TSWA.”
To be eligible for All-State honors, the player’s coach first has to nominate him. Smith did not hesitate to nominate Peña because he recognized what a great season he had regardless of his age and his grade classification.
“It’s extremely unusual for a sophomore to receive this kind of recognition,” said Smith. “But then you don’t find a lot of sophomores that had the kind of season that Edward had. He had a pretty unbelievable season. Not only did he not lose a game all year long as a pitcher but his numbers were off the charts at the plate as well.”
During the 2013 season Peña had 44 hits in 86 at bats for a .512 batting average. He scored 45 runs, had 55 RBIs, hit nine doubles, five triples and two homeruns. On the mound Peña went 11-0 last season with a 2.03 earned run average. He started 10 games, completing eight of them and threw one shutout.
While the honor he received was an individual one, Peña was quick to acknowledge the role his teammates played in his being named the first All-State First Team baseball player in school history.
“We had a great season as a team,” said Peña. “To get recognized like this meant that all the hard work paid off. This is something I can share with the whole team because this would not have been possible without my teammates around me.”
When it comes to his hitting style, Peña is by no means a power hitter. He did, however, hit two inside-the-park homeruns this past season.
“I like to think of myself as being in between a contact hitter and a power hitter,” said Peña. “I hit line drives into the gaps. If I get a hold of one, I could hit it out of the park, but that did not happen for me this year.”
Will he be able to extend his current 11-game winning streak next year? That’s not something Peña is going to be dwelling on.
“I’m going to try focusing on the moment,” said Peña. “That is what I did last year. If I can do that, everything else will work out after that. Having a good defense behind me helps out a lot as a pitcher because I’m not able to strike everybody out.”
For the future, Peña is hoping to play college ball at a Division 1A school. In any case, he has already made up his mind about his future career.
“Physical therapy is what I want to get into. That’s what I’ll be focusing on once I graduate high school. Hopefully, baseball will help make that happen for me,” said Peña.
Two of Peña’s teammates received All-State honors as well. Julian Fernandez was named second team All-State as a second baseman and Aggie Villarreal was honorable mention at shortstop.
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