ALVIN, Texas (FOX 26) - Can you believe some people in the Houston area are actually rooting for the Boston Red Sox in the American League Championship Series? In this case, we’ll have to give them a pass. They have a good reason for it and his name is Nathan Eovaldi, the Red Sox pitcher from Alvin.
"Our wall here has 1954 Ray Tomlinson and Eovaldi is up right over there,” Alvin High School head baseball coach George Banda tells FOX 26 News as he shows off the campus wall of fame. The wall is full of baseball players who graduated from Alvin High and went on to play in Major League Baseball, including National Baseball Hall of Fame inductee Nolan Ryan and Red Sox pitcher Eovaldi.
"Phenomenal guy, words can’t describe him," adds coach Banda with a smile. Eovaldi graduated from Alvin High School in 2008 but returns to his hometown often.
"He came and gave us pitching lessons," says Alvin High School outfielder/pitcher Carson Keithley "I learned I need to keep my foot straight and use more of my leg than my arm."
"It’s pretty awesome to have a big leaguer in our backyard to help us out with tricks and tips and stuff to become a better baseball player and a better person," explains Alvin High School pitcher Travis Phelps. "I was very nervous. He’s the first person I’ve ever talked to like that, but he made it really cool."
"I’ve caught several bullpens for him," adds Alvin High School catcher Jeff Myers. "Yeah, it was pretty crazy. I’m not going to lie."
Eovaldi now commands the mound at Minute Maid Park and at MLB pars throughout the U.S. That is incredibly encouraging to the Alvin High players who hope to play at MMP someday.
"Just knowing you can grow up in a small town and you can still make it big in the MLB is pretty cool,” adds Keithley. It’s also pretty cool knowing all of the hopes on their field of dreams could very well turn into reality.
"My dreams are, after this season, I want to get drafted to play in the MLB and kind of follow in his footsteps and be the next Alvin baseball player," says Phelps.
Who are the Alvin players cheering for — the home team or the hometown hero?
"I want the Astros, but I’m hoping Nate does well too," says Myers.
"It's a bittersweet situation, but it’s a win-win for all of us here in Alvin,” adds Coach Banda.