An athlete’s success in sports relies heavily on a balance of natural ability and determination to be the best in their field.
Junior infielder Jonathan Ortega is a prime example of this balance and has been an impressive force for Texas State baseball since his arrival in 2016.
Ortega began playing sports at an early age, but when high school rolled around it was not long before the other sports faded, and baseball became the sole focus of the Victoria native.
“I went to Victoria East High School, played a lot of baseball there,” Ortega said. “I played multiple sports, but I decided I wanted to play baseball. I think I was four years old when I first started playing baseball, I was very young.”
Ortega’s focus on baseball was a moment of self-realization. The junior infielder saw that his size and stature would not transition onto a football field or a basketball court, but it was right at home in the baseball diamond.
“When I was growing up I liked every sport, it wasn’t really just baseball,” Ortega said. “Then I got older and started realizing my size and how sports work out, so I was like this is what I think I might have a best shot in, so I stuck with it.”
Ortega began his collegiate baseball career as a Bobcat in the 2016 season and immediately made a difference as one of only three freshmen to start every game that season. The infielder believes being thrown into the fire by coaching staff allowed him to quickly grow and mature as a player.
“It was kind of all on the coaches,” Ortega said. “It was good for me cause they stuck out my mistakes, my freshman mistakes and let me just play through the mistakes I made. I feel like they prepared me well in the fall and spring for whenever it was time to go.”
As impressive as Ortega’s freshman season was, his sophomore season took him to even greater heights. The junior infielder led the Sun Belt Conference with 54 runs scored, totaled 45 RBIs and registered an .339 batting average, notching 81 hits in 239 at bats.
As with most athletes, Ortega believes he could have done better in 2017 and looks to the upcoming 2018 season as an opportunity to improve his game.
“I plan to be better than I was last year, I feel like I was younger last year and I’m more mature now about the game,” Ortega said. “I understand things more and I should be better.”
Beyond improving his individual game, Ortega takes the team leader role very seriously. He is all about lifting up and helping along other players.
“I just try to push somebody to be better than what they are, pick some of the younger guys up that don’t understand it so far yet,” Ortega said. “Just try to motivate everybody, like let everybody know that I got your back, keep working, I’m gonna do the same things you do so you’re not there by yourself.”
Getting into the swing of the 2018 season, Ortega has his eyes set on post season success. The junior infielder has confidence that with the current team, championship gold is well within reach.
“My personal goal is to win the conference championship, that’s my personal goal and then end up going to super regionals then go to Omaha,” Ortega said. “I feel like we have the team to do it this year, we just got to stick together and stay healthy.”