Weimar Hormigas vs. Austin Weirdos

Anthony Ward is held up at third base during the Weimar Hormigas’ Pecos League game with the Austin Weirdos at Weimar Veterans Memorial Park Strickland Field on Wednesday.

WEIMAR — Veterans Memorial Park Strickland Field has been the site for almost every level of baseball.

The first park with lights between Houston and San Antonio has hosted youth baseball, high school baseball, the Babe Ruth World Series, National Baseball Congress games and a team in the Texas Collegiate League for one season.

The Weimar Hormigas of the independent Pecos League are the latest team to find its way to the ballpark, which opened in 1948.

The Hormigas completed a three-game homestand with a 12-9 win over the Austin Weirdos, who along with Alpine are one of three Texas teams in the 16-team league, on Wednesday night before heading back on the road.

“I love it,” said Hormigas head coach Jonathan Garza. “This is one of the best ballparks I’ve ever seen. Some of the players I have now that used to play for other Pecos League teams, their comments on this ballpark are that it’s one of the best they ever played in.”

Garza was in the Marines before attempting to play professionally and eventually transitioning into coaching.

“It’s beautiful,” Garza said. “It’s everything I could have ever dreamed of. I got to chase my dream to play professional baseball at 36,” Garza said. “I’m 40-years old and this is where I’m at. It’s really, really exciting and when I see the excitement on the players’ faces, it means the world.”

Weimar Hormigas vs. Austin Weirdos

Coach Jonathan Garza watches during the Weimar Hormigas’ Pecos League game with the Austin Weirdos at Weimar Veterans Memorial Park Strickland Field on Wednesday.

Hormigas shortstop Anthony Ward is also grateful for the opportunity to continue pursuing his dream.

Ward, a native of Fresno, Calif., played his last two years of college baseball at Southwestern Christian in Oklahoma City.

He was playing fall ball in Houston for Garza when he got the chance to join the Hormigas.

“We’re still striving for that every day,” Ward said. “We grind and get in the gym, the cage and just working and trying to get out.”

Weimar Hormigas vs. Austin Weirdos

Drew Minter pitches during the Weimar Hormigas’ Pecos League game with the Austin Weirdos at Weimar Veterans Memorial Park Strickland Field on Wednesday.

Ward has been impressed by the level of play in the Pecos League.

“It’s pretty high,” he said. “We started out with a lot of placement issues so some errors happened here and there. As the season keeps going, it gets to be a high level of baseball and it’s a lot of fun.”

The Hormigas snapped a 10-game skid Wednesday night and improved to 3-11 in the midst of a stretch of 17 straight games.

“I’ve got some men who are willing to go all out for you,” Garza said. “The character that is built in this team is they never quit. You’re going to see nothing but speed and heart. I built this team on speed and they are always creating chaos. I try to tell the players and create excitement for the fans.”

Getting fans in the stands will determine whether the Hormigas remain in Weimar. Garza believes the answer lies in the team’s play on the field.

“Winning,” Garza said. “I tell the players a lot this is the first year here and the only way we stay here is to win. Nobody likes a loser. The moment we start winning, the good stuff happens.”

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Mike Forman is the sports editor of the Victoria Advocate. Contact him at 361-580-6588 or by email at mforman@vicad.com. Follow him on Twitter at @mikeforman21

Mike Forman is the sports editor of the Victoria Advocate. He has worked at the Advocate since 1982. He has a bachelor's degree from SMU and a master's degree from UCLA.