Dreams really did come true for Valencia High School alum Jared Oliva, who made it to the big leagues as a Pittsburgh Pirate this week.
The outfielder made his major-league debut as a pinch hitter Monday night before making his first start in left field the following night.
“The whole family knows that that boy was born to play baseball, and he’s doing it,” his mother, Beth Oliva, said. “It’s been a long time in the making.”
Oliva has been playing baseball for nearly 20 years, since his T-ball days at the Hart Baseball Complex at age 5.
Pushing past obstacles
At Valencia, Oliva saw limited playing time as a junior and senior, saying in a prior Signal interview that he had “a little different story” than most Division 1 standouts, but that he “always knew he could be an impact player and help out a school.”
“As parents, you see what your child is capable of and how much they’re passionate, but life is not always that easy,” Beth said. “The way there was not always a smooth journey. He had a lot of obstacles. Fortunately, he pushed past those obstacles. He knew what he wanted and went after it.”
Oliva went on to play at the University of Arizona, which was his dream school. Then, in 2017, he was a seventh-round draft pick for the Pirates, making his Double-A debut last season.
Since then, Beth said her son has realized the importance of showing kids that they, too, can beat the odds.
“We’re over the moon proud of him,” she said. “There’s no words.”
For Oliva’s parents, Monday night was a culmination of all his blood, sweat and tears over the years.
“It was an amazing day yesterday,” she said, as she began to cry. “You don’t know how many people are rooting for your son until something like this happens.”
On Tuesday, the Olivas traveled to Pittsburgh to stand outside the stadium as their son lives his dream.
“It’s all we can do, but it’s very important for us to see him and share that moment with him,” she added.