MISSION, Texas (ValleyCentral) – Pioneer’s Diego Chapa swings for the fences in his ‘RGV Kicks for Kids’ initiative.

Pioneer baseball is off to a 22-2-1 start as the postseason approaches. The Diamondbacks fell short of the UIL State Tournament last year, losing in the Region IV-5A final.

It’s a new group of guys, losing 13 seniors from last year’s team. Plus, it’s Adrian Leal’s first season as Pioneer head coach.

Despite the changes, the expectation remains the same.

“The advantage that these kids have that are coming back from last year is that expectation of playoff baseball,” said Adrian Leal, Pioneer Baseball Head Coach. “They’ve played to that standard and that high expectation, so that is something that we want to hone in on when it gets here.”

The returners from last year’s team know the expectation and the success of the program the past few seasons.

Now more than ever, they believe the team has started to click.

“Everybody’s starting to buy into what we have here,” said Santiago Ortiz, senior first baseman. “The culture that we’ve established throughout the years and our success.”

The Diamondbacks make noise each time they step onto the baseball diamond. However, one player makes even more noise off the field.

Chapa is a junior at Pioneer High School who loves to serve. Giving back is something he has always done.

A few months ago, Chapa decided to create an initiative to help those less fortunate than him in the community.

Shoes were a passion of his growing up, so he and his mother paired up with the Boys and Girls Club of Mission to create ‘RGV Kicks for Kids.’

Courtesy: Kelly Ramos Chapa

“Shoes can be expensive nowadays,” said Chapa. “There’s some kids who are passionate about sports, so I was just thinking I could help out by getting the shoes or cleats they need. I just wanted to give back to the community.”

Chapa delivers shoes to the organization once every three weeks

Diego reached out to his teammates about the initiative. They, too, decided to help out and donate.

“It makes me appreciate what I have,” said Josh Coellar, senior center fielder. “Giving back to others and having everyone come together as a community is amazing.”

Courtesy: Kelly Ramos Chapa

Volunteering helps others on the Pioneer squad remember where they came from. It makes them appreciate what they have now.

“I love helping others, and I love giving back to the community from where I’ve grown up,” said Ortiz. “I didn’t grow up with a lot of money, but now, I’m very fortunate, and I love to give back however I can.”

Courtesy: Kelly Ramos Chapa

Serving the community has also served Pioneer well on the baseball diamond. A big part of the Diamondbacks’ success is their bond.

“We’re delivering shoes to the Mission Boys and Girls Club every three weeks,” said Chapa. “It’s just amazing what our team can do.”

If you’d like to help with Chapa and his ‘RGV Kicks for Kids’ initiative, contact the Boys and Girls Club of Mission at (956) 585-3606.