May 24, 2024

OC Sports Zone: Community First

PHOTOS: Santa Ana baseball star Vincent Tinajero signs national letter of intent with Bradley

Vincent Tinajero of Santa Ana High signed his national letter of intent Monday with Bradley University. (Photos: Fernando M. Donado, For OC Sports Zone)

In front of family and friends at the Bill Medley Auditorium in Santa Ana High School, senior baseball standout Vincent Tinajero signed his letter of intent on Monday afternoon to play with Division I Bradley University next year.

To see the slide show, please click on the first photo

Tinajero, a catcher and pitcher, becomes the first player from Santa Ana High School since Billy Bean (former Detroit Tigers, Los Angeles Dodgers, and San Diego Padres player) to sign with a Division I program. Bean signed with Loyola Marymount in the mid 80s. He currently works as the Ambassador for Inclusion for Major League Baseball.

Bradley University is a Division I member in the Missouri Valley Conference. Last year the Missouri Valley Conference ranked as the sixth most competitive conference in NCAA baseball.

“Bradley University has always been my number one school and I am honored that they decided to select me to join their high achieving program,” Vincent Tinajero said. “I will have the opportunity to receive an amazing education at the same university my parents attended. I have worked very hard to get here and I plan to work harder in order to develop and bring a conference title to Bradley University.”

Tinajero becomes only the second player from the Santa Ana Unified School District to sign a letter of intent to a baseball division I school since 1994, according to Santa Ana High officials.

“Santa Ana is my home and many families live in poverty,” Tinajero added. “My father was no different and he has always explained how important it is to help empower a community. After baseball, I plan to become a teacher and help other students get to the place I am in today.”

MLB catcher Dustin Garneau who played for the Angeles and currently plays for the A’s, has coached Tinajero for the last four years said in a statement: “This is a great pick up for Bradley University. Vincent has an explosive consistent swing and has an advanced catching form that will allow him to make an impact right away.”

Santa Ana baseball coach Dave Silva added he was pleased that Tinajero decided to stay in his hometown to play high school baseball.

“He is one of the most talented, nicest and hardworking players I have ever had a chance to coach,” Silva said. “After this season he will be a four-year varsity letter winner and he has been an all-conference player each year. He is a team player and I know Bradley University will be very happy to have him.”

Tinajero also received a certificate of recognition from the office of Lou Correa (D-CA, 4th District).

Tinajero was a three-time All American as a youth travel ball player. He represented the Far West for USSSA in Florida. In 2014 Tinajero helped lead the Far West to a national championship. The next year Baseball Youth selected him to represent the West at the national tournament. Tinajero finished second in the home run derby and was selected as the player of the game against the East All American Team.

As a freshman he hit the ground running. He made varsity his freshman year and started every game. In that same year he was selected as a first team all-conference player and the teams MVP. He was also selected to the all-conference team his sophomore and junior year. Last year he was also selected as his conference defensive player of the year.

Tinajero’s father, Sal Tinajero ‘and his mother Jennifer Tinajero are 1995 graduates of Bradley University.  Tinajero’s older brother Salvador Tinajero, Jr is a senior at Western Kentucky University on a speech and debate scholarship and his sister is an eighth grade student at the Advanced Learning Academy and helped her middle school speech team win a national championship in 2019.

Former Major League Baseball player and coach, and current instructor Mark Cresse, President of the Santa Ana Unified School District Board John Palacio, and Santa Ana High principal Jeff Bishop were the guest speakers at the event. They all delivered testimonies that highlighted Vincent Tinajero’s athletic and academic achievements.

-Fernando M. Donado, For OC Sports Zone