UHV next stop for Refugio senior
Nov. 8, 2017 at 10 p.m.
REFUGIO - Jacobe Avery spent hours behind the plate on a torrid afternoon in May during Refugio's Class 2A regional semifinal baseball series at Weimar's Veterans Memorial Park Strickland Field.
But it didn't stop him from pitching in both games of a doubleheader just as he had done two nights before in the opening game of the best-of-three series.
Avery's willingness to do whatever he needed for the team came as no surprise to his Refugio teammates and coaches.
They had seen him named the offensive MVP of the Bobcats' Class 2A, Division I state championship game win at AT&T Stadium in Arlington in December, despite throwing up on the field more than once during the game.
"Jacobe is such a fierce competitor who gives you everything he has behind the plate or on the mound," said Refugio baseball coach Anthony Quintanilla. "He is a coach's dream as his baseball IQ is phenomenal and it's as if there is another coach playing on the field with the others making adjustments, calling pitches and directing the team."
Avery's skills and competitiveness helped him earn an offer to play baseball at UHV in the upcoming school year.
Avery fulfilled a life-long goal by signing a letter of intent to play for the Jaguars next season.
"I just think about it every day," Avery said. "I've been telling myself I've been ready for it. Now that I'm committed, I'm blessed."
Avery caught and pitched and earned all-state honors for the Bobcats, who advanced to the regional semifinals for the third straight season.
Avery moved from quarterback to running back in football this season and is also starting at linebacker for the Bobcats, who are ranked No. 5 in the state and will play Shiner on Friday for the District 15-2A, Division I championship.
Avery's accomplishments in football impressed UHV coach Terry Puhl.
"I do like multi-sports athletes," Puhl said. "I prefer football players because they are tougher. Baseball is a tough game, and especially tough mentally. You have to get used to being kicked around and mentally kicked around before you can have success."
Avery is likely to play catcher and could see time at second base for UHV.
"That first year there are a lot of growing pains," Puhl said. "They have to learn to schedule and start doing things on their own. That second year, they begin to get the whole aspect of being a college student. This gives me time to teach them to hit and make them a more efficient hitter."
Avery will be back behind the plate and will also pitch for the Bobcats this season, and hopes to improve on his fundamentals.
"I'll be pitching and helping out a lot this year," Avery said. "I'll be working on just getting my mechanics down and my pop-ups from catcher to second base."
Avery is relieved to have achieved his goal, but he's determined to end his football career at AT&T Stadium.
"I've been dreaming about playing college baseball since I was little," he said. "I know I'll be playing baseball somewhere. But right now, we want to win another state championship. That's what we're looking forward to."
Mike Forman is a sports writer for the Victoria Advocate. Contact him at 361-580-6588 or firstname.lastname@example.org.