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Jose Torres

Louisiana catcher Jose Torres carries Panama to Bayou

Jose Torres hopes to build on Panama's rich baseball legacy

HOUSTON – University of Louisiana Lafayette catcher Jose Torres is a bolt of energy when he steps on to the baseball field. The passion he brings to his teammates and the way he hustles during his defensive drills before game time are contagious. 

“He’s just a wonderful God-fearing young man that comes from a very genuine hard-working family down in Panama,” Louisiana head coach Matt Deggs said of Torres. “Every day is a gift to Jose. He has a smile on his face. He’s a hard worker, great teammate and loves to compete and get after it.”

Jose Torres’ father Nicanor Torres Rosero had his two sons playing baseball at a young age. They could often be found playing baseball in the small town of San Francisco, Panama. Jose started his baseball career at 5 years old. He wanted to follow the other great Panamanian players like Hall of Famers Rod Carew and Mariano Rivera.

Chasing dreams in the U.S.

Torres, a 5-foot-8 junior left his country at the age of 16 to pursue his dream of playing baseball at a higher level. He enrolled at the Miami Christian School. Once there, he instantly proceeded to work. 

Torres helped the Victors win a Florida state title in 2019. He was rated as the No. 21 catcher in the state of Florida by Perfect Game. He could have taken a different path or choose another career, but he knew baseball was his calling when he left Panama.

“I had different opportunities back home, but they weren’t what I was striving for at the time,” Torres said. “I got the opportunity to come here when I was 16 years old. And I haven’t been back home since about five or six years ago.”

On Louisiana’s opening weekend against Wright State, Nicanor Torres Rosero and Jose’s mother Yamileth Sanchez made the trip from Panama to watch Jose Torres play for the first time since he departed.

Torres started in his first Div. I game and drove in the winning run with a sacrifice fly to left. His teammates chased him down with pure excitement as they celebrated their first win of the season. Torres was drenched with water and sweat as he soaked up a special moment with a huge smile on his face.

Jose Torres makes early impression

“I don’t have words to express how valuable that experience and a good time it was,” Jose Torres said. “Just seeing my dad cry was something that really touched me. My mom being able to watch me since I was 12 and being at that moment with her was something that really changed my perspective on everything.”

Pitcher Humberto Robinson was the first Panamanian to play in the majors. He made his debut with the Milwaukee Braves in 1955. There have been 78 Panamanian MLB players. Torres is looking to help that number grow.


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Baseball continues to bring the Torres family together. Jose Torres’ older brother, Nicanor Torres Sanchez, coaches a 16U-through-18U travel team in Austin. Jose wants to open and manage his own baseball training facility with his brother after he is done playing.

The San Jac alum has a strong desire to help the next generation of baseball players in Panama, just like Robinson did for others.

“We are baseball enthusiastic,” he said. “‘He already has a career as a coach. So that’s something I would like to do with him mainly, being able to handle the business and baseball part.”

He’ll carry that enthusiasm this season, considering he’s already a fan favorite in Louisiana.

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