WEIMAR — Anthony Ward is willing to go any length to chase his dream of playing professional baseball.

The Fresno, Calif., native has played junior college, NAIA, various independent leagues, including the Pecos League with the new franchise Weimar Hormigas.

“That prepared me to get into this league where you’re meant to grind day in and day out,” Ward said ahead of the Hormigas’ game against the Austin Weirdos at Veterans Memorial Park Strickland Field on Thursday. “You get on that field and you put your all into it. You miss your family. Being away from them, it’s difficult.”

Ward, a shortstop, currently in his third year in the Pecos League, is about to see his patience pay off.

He is one of two Hormigas selected to play in the MLB Draft League, according to head coach Jonathan Garza. Ward joins former University of Houston player Drew Minter.

The Draft League is a league aimed at helping draft-eligible players improve their prospects of playing professionally.

Garza and Ward met a year ago in another independent league.

“With Anthony, he lights up the room,” Garza said. “The moment he walks in, it’s excitement, love, caring. He’s just a person full of energy. His work ethic is through the roof.”

Ward and his teammates drive their personal vehicles to all of their games — home and away — and either live with a host family or in a hotel during the season.

“When it comes to these players throughout the league, these are guys that are trying everything possible to just get looked at,” Garza added. “For the most part here, you have to invest in yourself a little bit more just to be given the opportunity to be seen. That’s really what it comes down to.”

The shared big league dream knows no distance, either.

Minoru “Mik” Ebisu came to Texas from Kobe, Japan, and has been a real estate agent in Houston for the last three years and is in his first year in the Pecos League.

“(Real estate) is a very demanding job. You think you can set your hours, but it’s 24/7,” Ebisu said. “To bring baseball into my life was a very big challenge. I’ve been able to talk to my boss and she’s been very understanding of my dream. That support really helped me get here to the point of being able to manage it.”

He grew up dreaming of playing professionally after watching Cy Young award-winner Yu Darvish play for the Nippon-Ham Fighters in the Japanese Nippon Professional Baseball League.

If his time in the Pecos League doesn’t pan out, Ebisu hopes to use his contract skills from real estate and his knowledge on the field to help future baseball players chase their dreams.

“I was thinking I would love to become a part of some baseball organization or help, in some way, baseball players from Japan,” Ebisu said. “I think I would love to be a bridge of two countries in the world.”

Sam is a Sports Reporter for the Victoria Advocate. You can reach him at sfowler@vicad.com or (361) 580-6576. You can follow him on Twitter @Fowlersports14.

Assistant Sports Editor

Sam is the Assistant Sports Editor with experience covering high school sports in West Texas, South Texas and anywhere in between. Sam graduated from Angelo State University in 2017, where he also featured as a punter on their football team.