Jenina Ortega is entering her third year as the Bison softball backstop. Since playing shortstop in high school, Ortega’s arm has been her greatest weapon, nearly eliminating any thought of stealing for even the fastest base runners. After hitting .300 and playing sensational defense behind the dish her Freshman year, Ortega was named the Summit League All-Tournament Team. Ortega looks to lead this young Bison team this year as they fight for their fifth straight NCAA Regional appearance.
BI: You guys have a very young team this year, what kind of leadership role have you taken with the team?
JO: “I’m doing more of the ‘do well and hope they follow.’ I try to get everybody to be a leader and everybody can contribute. Talk less do more.”
BI: What’s one piece of advice you stress most to the younger players?
JO: “Stay confident, that’s one thing I stress. They don’t know what it’s like to play in the atmosphere and compete for a championship. A lot of them are uncomfortable but we learn how to become comfortable by being uncomfortable so now they’re starting to fit in.”
BI: Catching is one of the toughest positions to play in softball, how do you keep yourself fresh day-in and day-out?
JO: “I get a lot of treatment. A LOT of treatment. I take care of my body and eat right. That’s the biggest one, eating right. I eat a lot of chicken breast, brown rice, vegetables and a lot of fruits.”
BI: You’re from San Jose, California, what do you miss most about home?
JO: “The weather (laughs). The weather is what I miss and my family. The only person that has ever come up here is my mom. But NDSU is a perfect fit for me.”
BI: Baseball and softball players have been known to be superstitious, do you have any superstitions?
JO: “I eat a lot of candy before the game. Jolly Ranchers definitely.”
BI: When you’re not in class or on the diamond, how do you spend your time?
JO: “In ACE (Academic Collegiate Enhancement) (laughs). I’m studying in ACE, that’s exactly what I do in my free time.
BI: You have a knack for throwing out potential base stealers, what makes you so good in that facet of the game?
JO: “Trusting my teammates, that’s what makes you the best. Anywhere the ball is thrown I know they are going to get it. I think it’s safe to say I give all the credit to them.”