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East's Cruz to play for UHV

By Marcus Gutierrez
May 17, 2017 at 9:45 p.m.
Updated May 17, 2017 at 10:10 p.m.

Victoria East's Alec Cruz, middle, signed a NAIA letter of intent to play baseball at UHV. Joining Cruz were his father, Lewis Cruz, left, and East coach Wes Kolle, right.

Victoria East's Alec Cruz, middle, signed a NAIA letter of intent to play baseball at UHV. Joining Cruz were his father, Lewis Cruz, left, and East coach Wes Kolle, right.   Marcus Gutierrez for The Victoria Advocate

Victoria East's Alec Cruz started playing baseball at 4 years old, and he aspired to play in college.

His dream became a reality Wednesday.

Cruz made his commitment official to play baseball at UHV during a special ceremony at the East library.

"This is something that I have been working my whole life for," said the second baseman. "I have always dreamed about getting to play at the next level, and now it's going to happen."

Cruz, who was named to the District 27-5A first team as a second baseman, became the fourth Titans baseball player to commit to play at the collegiate level.

Cruz helped the Titans finish 21-9-1. The Titans won their first outright district title in school history and swept a bi-district series against San Antonio Jefferson.

"It was fun just playing with all my brothers," said the three-year letterman. "We had a lot of good chemistry on the team. Even though we didn't get the outcome we wanted, it was a great ride and I love them to death."

"It's very rewarding, and I'm proud to see when our players get a chance to play at the next level," said East coach Wes Kolle. "Alec is a great player and helped us out a lot this year. He worked hard every day at practice and you saw all that hard work pay off on gameday."

Cruz finished the season with a .308 batting average with 14 RBIs, a home run. He also scored 21 times and had nine stolen bases.

Cruz will play as a middle infielder for the Jaguars.

Cruz's familiarity with the Jaguars program and head coach Terry Puhl was one of his deciding factors.

"I have some guys on the team that I know and they just told me about the program, and I like it," Cruz said. "I like Terry Puhl because he's always calm and collective during the games. He knows a lot about baseball and can help me grow into a better player."

"Alec's a versatile player, and I think that's what coach Puhl wants him to do at UHV," Kolle said. "He's got a real high ceiling and has room to grow. It's going to be fun watch him grow and develop as a ballplayer."

Jaguars sign first baseman

The Jaguars also signed Harlingen first baseman Alex Hinojosa III for 2018 season.

Hinojosa helped guide the Cardinals to a 15-10 record and a berth in the playoffs.

He spent his freshman year at Brownsville St. Joseph before transferring to Harlingen and making the varsity squad his sophomore year.

He has .980 career fielding percentage, including a .991 mark this season.


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