By Kiersten Ehr
Ariel Ortiz wears her #2 Texas State Softball jersey with pride as a freshman shortstop playing in the collegiate level. Ortiz is already making a name for herself on the roster and in the conference as she has started in all 43 games this season for the Bobcats. Her batting statistics received recognition in the first week of the season as she was named the Sun Belt Conference Player of the Week when she went 11-for-17 with three home runs, one triple, five doubles, seven RBI’s, and nine runs scored, all of which marked team highs in a weekend series. She continues to help out her team in game winning situations.
Growing up, Ortiz found a passion in baseball which carried onto a love for softball. Ortiz decided to stop playing ball with the boys as she found a new sport that would soon make her a star athlete for Texas State. “My dad just coached my oldest brother and ever since I just remember being on the baseball field.” Ortiz said. “That’s where I started. We didn’t know about softball until the coach pitch stopped. Then I switched over to softball. I told my dad I didn’t want to play with the boys anymore.”
Ortiz cherishes her father daughter relationship with her dad as he showed her how to excel in baseball. Then he had to step aside from coaching and be her biggest fan. “Probably my dad, he introduced me to the game. He was always the coach. When we started buting heads that’s when he had to stop being a coach he had to be a dad. Definitely my dad.” Ortiz said.
Ortiz had her fairy tale come to life as her favorite role model growing up was Cat Osterman (a former three-time National Player of the Year, four-time All-American and two-time Olympic medalist), Cat would soon become her assistant head coach at Texas State. Ortiz went on to say “Growing up it was Cat and Jenny. It was all of them but now it’s like Coach ‘O’ is our coach and this is kind of weird. I don’t want to fill my head too much or feel intimidated by her, but I kind of am. Because of baseball mom loved Derek Jeter. She wanted to name my little brother Derek. He was always a great guy to look up to.”
Ortiz decided to play at Texas State for the softball program and the iconic train that brings her memories from being back home. “If you go to the softball field the train tracks are behind the field. When my oldest brother played at Richards Park, Waxahachie is my hometown but Richards Park is a baseball field and when you go there, there is like 10 trains that go a day and you can hear it. You can hear the games and everything. It was like hey I’m home this is kind of where I grew up because I was always at the baseball field there.” Ortiz said,
Softball has brought Ortiz opportunities with an open heart for new friendships and memories. She cherishes this aspect of the sport she loves the most
“I like the people you meet an everything. When I started playing softball I got introduced to all these new people and all these new girls that I still keep in touch with today. My best friend goes to Arkansas and plays there so we haven’t skipped a beat. The friendships that’s my favorite.”
As a freshman starting in all the games for the Bobcats, Ortiz feels like she has learned to adapt in a higher level for game winning situations. “I feel like I control my emotions better. In high school you don’t get yelled or in summer ball its more learning, but here you don’t know what’s coming. I’ve learned to adapt and control my emotions with whatever comes.”
Before Texas State games Ortiz has some family traditions she keeps consistent on before she walks on the field.
“Usually my mom will bring me something or my dad will text me ‘good luck girlfriend’ or something. If he doesn’t text me then I’m like hey are you alright? What’s going on? But nothing specific. My left shoe always goes on before my right shoe.”
Ariel Ortiz continues to stand out on the Texas State Softball team as she currently has eight home runs and a .366 batting average as of April 14th. Ortiz isn’t letting anything get in her way as she wants to make her teammates, family, friends and coaches proud as the Bobcats host the Sun Belt Conference Softball Tournament in May.