STAFF WRITER JENNIFER FIERRO
BURNET — Burnet High School senior Steven Gallardo could have played college football. After all, he was having conversations with East Texas Baptist University football coaches when the Bulldog changed course and called the baseball coaching staff.
After baseball coaches saw him play and got to know him, they offered him a scholarship to play shortstop, which Gallardo accepted and made official by signing his letter of intent May 22 at Burnet High School.
Gallardo was grateful for many things the past several months: his family, friends, teachers, teammates, and coaches. He also was thankful he had options.
“I visited a lot of schools and talked to a lot of coaches,” he said. “At East Texas, they wanted me, and I felt welcomed when I visited the campus.”
In addition to visiting with coaches, Gallardo said he talked to professors and students and envisioned being part of the school community.
While he enjoys playing football, he enjoys playing baseball more.
“I’ve played it since I was four years old,” he said. “I always had a passion for the sport, and I love it. I’ve always seen myself playing baseball in college. In baseball, you only get a few opportunities to shine.”
Gallardo, who was a first team all-district selection each of the past three years, credits his teammates and coaches for helping him realize his dream of playing college baseball because they created a climate of competition that forced him to perform at his best each day, he said.
“It’s always helped having all my teammates around,” he said.
Burnet coaches couldn’t say enough about Gallardo’s approach to practices and contests, noting he helped set a tone with his play and outlook.
Head baseball coach Todd Doucet, who has been a head coach for 20 years, said the athlete’s work ethic speaks for itself, but his personality and character are what make him successful on the field and in every part of his life.
“He’s a guy who’s always going one hundred percent,” Doucet said. “His last game of the season, he competed his tail off. I told him, ‘I expect you to be playing baseball for a very long time. I think he’ll play professionally one day.”
“He’s an outstanding young man and tremendous athlete,” athletics director Kurt Jones said. “I don’t know that I’ve coached an athlete who works harder in practice and on the field.”
Doucet said he can see Gallardo playing anywhere in the infield and even pitching if coaches give him a chance.
The son of Tina Gallardo and Robert Gallardo will major in kinesiology.