Porter ace Sauceda signs with TAMIU

Brownsville Porter senior ace Cristo Sauceda didn’t have the words to describe how special Tuesday was for him.

Sauceda, the hard-throwing lefty who led the Cowboys to a 21-8-1 season and the area round of the playoffs in their first postseason appearance since 2015, signed to continue his baseball career at Texas A&M International University. It was an emotional experience and one that he worked toward for a long time.

“Right now I’m so happy because everything paid off, all my hard work, waking up early, staying up late to do homework. Now I’m doing what I love and signing with a good college,” Sauceda said. “This is my biggest day.”

Porter coach Oscar Cortez joked that it’s fitting Sauceda goes by Cristo because he was the savior for the Cowboys. Sauceda notched a 0.36 ERA, allowing only four earned runs through more than 70 innings pitched. Cortez said Sauceda’s work ethic will drive him to get even better in college.

“Cristo throws his fastball, his curveball and his changeup for a strike every single time. He started throwing a split-finger this year, so that was another pitch he added to his arsenal,” Cortez said. “As long as he controls everything for a strike, I think he’s going to be tough. (After buying into our weightlifting program) he went from 72 (miles per hour) as a freshman to throwing 85 now. I know with the right weight program at TAMIU, he’s going to increase a lot more.”

Sauceda credited Miguel Torres for helping him get in contact with the Dustdevils. He’ll be playing for Philip Middleton in the Lone Star Conference at the NCAA Division II level.

“Their team is together, and they treat you like family. Since the first day I went over there they said, ‘If you need anything we’re here.’ I went to do a workout and they said they were excited to sign me,” Sauceda said. “I’m excited to go and start the season. It’ll be hard because I’m a freshman, but I’m going to try my best to get on the mound and do what I love to do.”

Sauceda said the biggest lesson he learned at Porter and through his baseball career has been to “just do what the coaches tell you to do.” The Cowboys coaches praised Sauceda’s leadership and said he was an example for his teammates.

Being in the role as leader and taking it upon himself to help his younger teammates has influenced Sauceda to study kinesiology and someday pursue a career as a baseball coach.

“I want to come back here to Porter to be the head baseball coach. I love baseball and I just want to help the community here in Brownsville, so why not help the next generation from Porter? I would love to do that,” Sauceda said.

Cortez said Sauceda has and will continue to be the ultimate representation for the Porter baseball program. Opposing coaches often asked, “Are you throwing the lefty against us?” because they knew how dominant he could be. The Cowboys’ staff called Sauceda’s signing an important day for the southpaw and the entire program.

“Cristo’s signing and going to college and the way he represents Porter means a lot,” Cortez said. “It’s not only beneficial for him. He’s going to take advantage of it, but I think it’s great for the program here at Porter. I think he’s going to be a great ambassador, he’s going to go out there and talk about the things we do here at Porter, and that’s a plus for us.”

ccruz@brownsvilleherald.com