Ponder has seen senior Jessica Orozco as a valuable asset to its softball team since she stepped onto the diamond as a freshman. However, catching the eye of scouts from Southwest Christian University in Bethany, Okla., has opened a new door for the talented senior.
“It is always exciting to have someone within your program sign to play at the college level,” Ponder head softball coach Paige Wells said. “We wish her the best in her new endeavors.”
Orozco, who started learning to play when she was 4 years old, has wanted to play college softball since she was 10. However, when SCU offered her a spot on its team as a pitcher and outfielder, she wasn’t quite sold. But after visiting the campus, she wasn’t disappointed.
“After my visit I wanted to go to SCU,” said Orozco.
Signing on to play for SCU means she is receiving a four-year academic scholarship that will cover most of the tuition costs.
Playing for SCU won’t be a big stretch for Orozco for several reasons, which are exactly what she loves about the school.
Southwest Christian University is a small university, described by Orozco as being “a little bigger than Ponder,” that puts an emphasis on religion. Orozco, who loves living in a small town, found that to be important to her decision, though it was the accent on religion that really convinced her that this was the school for her.
“It basically is my life, ” she said.
Her Fellowship of Christian Athletes, or FCA, membership reflects that, and has taught her and fellow members to be “good examples of Christ and unify together in faith.”
Besides being a starter all four years of high school, Orozco has won numerous awards, including 2011 all-district defensive player of the year, 2011 Denton Record-Chronicle Newcomer of the Year, 2012 first-team all-district pitcher and 2013 all-district offensive player of the year.
While her softball future may be set in stone, Orozco’s academic future, while bright, isn’t quite so fixed.
She is interested in the fields of psychology and sociology and believes that she will most likely pursue a bachelor’s degree in one of these areas of study. She has considered becoming a psychologist after graduating from SCU.
Even though Orozco is excited to play for SCU in the fall, she is still focused on having a successful last season of high school softball. Her foremost goal regarding softball is to “go as far as we can this last year in high school.”
OKSANA BEKH is a senior at Ponder High School and a participant in the Denton Record-Chronicle’s “Speak Out Loud” program for student journalists.