Minor leaguer helping Kingsland Little League, area players gear up for season

DANIEL CLIFTON • PICAYUNE EDITOR

KINGSLAND — Young ball players can gather insight into what it takes to make the professional ranks when minor-league signee Michael Zouzalik visits the Kingsland Little League fields Feb. 16 from noon to 2 p.m.

PHOTO: Former University of Texas-Pan American pitcher and now minor-league signee Michael Zouzalik will sign autographs for youth baseball and softball players Feb. 16 at the Kingsland Little League Fields from noon to 2 p.m. Zouzalik signed with the Texas Rangers organization in August 2012 after an open tryout at The Dell Diamond in Round Rock. Along with signing autographs, the ball player will give a motivational talk to area youth. The event is open to young ballplayers from the Highland Lakes, but it also will be an opportunity for Kingsland youth to register for Little League. Photo by Dutch Cowgill/UTPA Athletics

“This is pretty exciting for us,” said Guy Everett of the Kingsland Little League Association. “He’s going to be giving a motivational-style talk as well as be signing baseballs.”

The event, though held in Kingsland, is open to all young baseball players from the area.

“We want kids from Llano, Burnet, Marble Falls and all over to come out and hear Michael,” Everett said.

Kingsland youth also can use it as an opportunity to register for the 2013 Little League season. The event will be held at the Kingsland ball fields, adjacent to the Kingsland Convention and Community Center, 3451 Rose Hill Drive.

“It’s every kid’s dream to make it to the big leagues, and Michael’s done it,” Everett said. “He signed with the (Texas) Rangers organization last summer and is headed to Spring Training in March in Surprise, Ariz. This is a great chance for kids to hear about what it takes to be successful, whether it’s in sports, life or school.”

Zouzalik graduated in 2008 from Cedar Park Vista Ridge High School before going on to pitch for Cisco College in Cisco for two years and then transferring to the University of Texas-Pan American in Edinburg.

At UT-Pan American, the right-hander was 7-3 with a 4.15 ERA in 15 starts and seven relief appearances during his two seasons as a Bronc.

In August, Zouzalik was one of 400 ballplayers who attended an open tryout at The Dell Diamond in Round Rock for the Rangers organization. After his performance, the ballclub signed the 22-year-old to a minor-league contract.

“Since he played his high school career at Vista Ridge, he’s probably played against several of the Burnet and Marble Falls players,” Everett said.

Zouzalik’s twin brother, Zachary, also pitched at Vista Ridge and played at both Cisco and UT-Pan American.

“But Zachary decided to go into the business world, while Michael decided to keep pursuing baseball,” Everett said.

Kingsland Little League officials will toss out baseballs for youth to get Zouzalik to sign at no cost. The concession stand will be open during the event.

daniel@thepicayune.com