LA JOYA – Rigoberto Salinas sits mere steps away from his daughter Sabrina, with a gleam in his eyes, as he pensively observes every pitch —and at times gesturing his approval of her work.
With her father at the wheel, Sabrina has been delaying her leisure time three days a week this summer to make the trip from La Joya to Brownsville for practice and training at the South Texas Fast Pitch Academy. Once she steps on the rehearsal stage, it’s all business for an hour.
She and her coach Charlie Peña have skillfully structured her pitching delivery so that every pitch looks the same. If she doesn’t get you with a sizzling 56-mile fastball (equivalent to 81 mph in baseball), she has a repertoire of pitches that will.
There are few that can produce an echo when the ball makes contact with the catcher’s glove like she does. The distinctive sound is heard often and loud enough that those inside the practice venue take notice.
Her pitching motion is consistently smooth with such finesse only seen coming from experienced players—she is simply, “poetry in motion.”
The 16-year-old La Joya ace is a junior this year, and the opposition in the future can expect a much improved pitcher than from previous years.
Her instructor declared with confidence, “Due to her work this summer, she has increased her fastball velocity and developed a menu of pitches that will deceive any batter.”
After the grueling training of hurling between 90 to 100 pitches in extreme heat—and with no traces of fatigue—off she goes with her devoted companion, her dad, to be seen on the long road back to Coyoteland.
Sabrina continues to have an eventful summer. Presently, she is pitching with a couple of ball clubs. One is the Texas Bombers, a handpicked team associated with a national organization that recruits college prospects.
A politician thinks of the next election, a statesman about the next generation, a pitcher about the next season. For Sabrina, that much anticipated season will come in the spring of 2017.
Part of her snapshot profile includes her interest in science. Her talent transcends beyond the pitching circle. Most recently she received accolades for her work at the UIL District, Regional and State Science Fair events.
Her focused diligence merits admiration and her immeasurable talent mirrors her passion for the game.