|Centre three-sport athlete draws attention from pro scouts
RELEASED: May 15, 2003
DANVILLE, KYJohn Ortega completed an amazing year in athletics at Centre by being named first-team all-Southern Collegiate Athletic Conference in baseball.
The junior from Prestonsburg, Ky., also was first-team all-conference in football as a defensive back and made the SCAC all-tournament team in basketball.
With these accolades, it's not surprising that professional sports scouts are lining up to see Ortega.
A scout for the National Football League's St. Louis Rams visited Danville recently to put Ortega through a workout. Scouts from the Carolina Panthers organization will visit campus this week to meet with Ortega.
"The [Rams] scout said he would get some of my game tapes from this past year and evaluate them and then monitor the upcoming season as well," said Ortega, a computer science major. "How interested they are and how well I play will determine my future prospects."
But football is not the only sport in which he could have a professional future. Ed Rall, baseball coach at Centre, said Ortega will participate in some pro baseball tryout camps this summer.
"He's the best athlete I've ever coached," Rall said of his outfielder. "I truly believe he could play some professional baseball if somebody would give him a chance."
Ortega, 5-foot-11 and 195 pounds, batted .394 and led the SCAC in stolen-base percentage by swiping 18 bases in 18 attempts.
He's the first Centre athlete to start in football, basketball and baseball since 1952.
In other sports news, softball players Holly Phillips, Marjorie Pilkinton and Macy Dykema have been selected to the all-SCAC first team.
Laura Coleman, Erin Grumley and Lindy Pritchard made honorable mention.
The Lady Colonels' softball team competed in the SCAC tournament for the first time in four years. Coleman and Phillips also made the all-tournament team.
"I'm extremely proud of all six of these young women," said head coach Wendie Austin. "It's nice to see the other coaches respect our players, too, since they voted for them. Our team made a big step within the conference this year with our success, and the players deserved these honors. They pushed each other and got better every day in practice. It's going to be great having them all back next year."
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