Jade Gortarez Finds The Fit She Was Looking For At Louisiana
Jade Gortarez has two loves: baseball and softball. Though she plays college softball now on the Division I level, baseball was her first love.
“I originally grew up playing baseball when I was three years old and I never really got into softball,” Gortarez told Softball America. “I played baseball my entire life and didn’t get into softball maybe until my junior year of high school and that’s when the recruiting process started for me, but I’ve always loved playing baseball.”
She wasted no time excelling at her first love, as she played baseball with the U.S. women’s national baseball team, with whom she won a silver medal at the Women’s World Cup of Baseball and a gold medal in 2015 at the Pan American Games.
On the softball side of things, Gortarez played for the Texas Longhorns her freshman year in 2017 before transferring to Arizona State for her next two seasons. In those two seasons for the Sun Devils, she hit .313, scored 81 runs, racked up 108 hits, smashed 25 doubles, drove in 74 runs and went yard 14 times.
However, before the start of the 2020 season, Gortarez decided to enter the transfer portal and has found a new home with the Ragin’ Cajuns at the University of Louisiana-Lafayette.
Gortarez explained that the decision had a lot to do with all that UL has to offer.
“I decided to transfer over to UL because mainly the coaching staff and the atmosphere,” Gortarez said. “The atmosphere of the stadium and fans, just the whole culture here is completely different from what I came from, and it’s exactly what I’ve been looking for in a program.
“The competitive drive of every single player, the competitiveness that our coaches demand out of us is something that I’ve been looking for pretty much my entire career, and that’s something I love being around.”
If there’s anything she enjoys most, it’s the bonds she has formed and the similarities she has with her teammates.
“I feel like a lot of girls on our roster have come from similar backgrounds. They’re transfers or it’s their first year here, so everybody’s kind of new,” Gortarez added. “Everybody just has that mutual understanding of ‘I’m here for a reason because I just want to play, I just want to win.’ Just having that mentality and that bond every single day is what I love being around.”
The Ragin’ Cajuns are regulars in the NCAA Tournament. The program has made the dance for 19 straight years with seven Super Regional appearances and three Women's College World Series appearances in that time. Gortarez is ready and excited to embrace such a storied program and fanbase.
“When I actually came down here on my official visit, I was here for the LSU game and it was completely sold out, over 3,000 people were here,” Gortarez said. “Seeing the love that these fans have for Ragin’ Cajuns softball is amazing and it’s an atmosphere that anybody in the world would want to play in.”