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Junior infielder aims to take team to next level

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Junior infielder aims for champion success
Jonathan Ortega, junior infielder stands at bat during a game from a previous season. Ortega is entering his third year on the men's baseball team.
Star File Photo

An athlete’s success in sports relies heavily on a balance of natural ability and determination to be the best.

Jonathan Ortega, junior infielder, is a prime example of this balance and has been a force for Texas State baseball since his arrival in 2016.

Ortega began playing sports at an early age. When high school rolled around, it was not long before the other sports faded and baseball became his focus.

“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.”

Ortega’s focus was a moment of self-realization. The junior infielder that his size and stature would not transition onto a football field or a basketball court. But, he 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 immediately made a difference as one of only three freshmen to start every game that season.

“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 was, he reached greater heights in his sophmore season. The junior infielder led the Sun Belt Conference with 54 runs scored, totaled 45 RBIs and registered at .339 batting average, notching 81 hits in 239 at-bats.

Like most athletes, Ortega believes he could have done better in 2017, but looks to the upcoming 2018 season to improve his game.

“I plan to be better than I was last year,” Ortega said. “I feel like I was younger last year and I’m more mature now about the game. I understand things more and I should be better.”

Beyond improving his individual game, Ortega takes the role of team leader seriously and wants to help and lift up other players.

“I just try to push somebody to be better than what they are and 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.”

The junior infielder has confidence in the current team and believes championship gold is within their reach.

“My personal goal is to win the conference championship,” Ortega said. “That’s my personal goal and then end up going to super regionals; then go to Omaha. I feel like we have the team to do it this year.”

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