LOCAL ATHLETE NAMED U.S. ARMY ATHLETE OF THE YEAR -
Accepted into Special Forces Group
By Bill Johnson / July 1, 2016
Former Parkland resident and local softball standout 1st Lieutenant April Ortenzo was named the United States Army 2015 Athlete of the Year. LT. General Arthur Gregg and Four Star Commanding General Dennis Via presented the award on March 16th at the Association of the United States Army Global Symposium in Huntsville, Alabama.
In the fall of 2015, Ortenzo led the United States All-Army softball national team to a 9-0 sweep and gold medal against the Navy, Air Force and Marine teams at the annual Armed Forces National Championship Tournament at Camp LeJeune, North Carolina. As Army's starting shortstop, Ortenzo hit .575 and was then named to the combined United States All-Armed Forces Team comprised of the Military's best players worldwide. The All-Armed Forces team then went on to compete for the ASA National Championship at the USA Hall of Fame complex in Oklahoma City.
As the Armed Forces starting shortstop April once again played errorless defense and led the U.S. team to an undefeated (3-0) run to the National crown. Ortenzo hit .800 with four doubles, three triples, 10 RBI's and nine runs in the three game sweep, and was named the tournament batting champion, tournament MVP and named an ASA All-American.
Locally, April was a standout player for the Florida Pokers baseball and Florida Fury softball travel teams. At Cardinal Gibbons High School she was the Chief's four-year starting shortstop and MVP and in her senior year she was named to first team All-Broward, first team All-Florida and MVP of the Broward County All-Star game. In 2010 Ortenzo was named the U.S. National Female High School Athlete of the year for all Catholic High Schools in America, and was inducted into the International Catholic Sports Hall of Fame at the (Chicago Bears) Halas Hall.
Ortenzo chose to pass on many other college offers for the opportunity to play at the United States Military Academy at West Point where she was Army's four year starting DI shortstop, two year team Captain, and finished in Army's all-time top five for games played, at bats, hits, doubles, RBI's, runs and stolen bases. She helped lead the Black Knights to its two best seasons in history, including a 2013 Patriot League championship and trip to the NCAA regionals.
Since the National championships in Oklahoma City Ortenzo, who is posted in Tacoma, WA at Joint Base Lewis-McChord, was promoted to 1st Lieutenant, nominated and then named the Army Athlete of the Year, and accepted from the Adjutant General Branch into a Special Forces Group. Ortenzo, a 2012 graduate of the 101st Airborne Air Assault School is now scheduled to complete the 101st Airborne Paratrooper School at Fort Benning, Georgia in August.
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