Baseball. One of the dirtiest, cockiest, hormone-ridden games. It’s a man’s sport.
Yes, there are other sports out there that you can say the same about, but there’s something about America’s pastime that is different. It’s a sport in which everything your mother taught you not to do, you go ahead and do. And you do it with pride.
However, it was Jason Ochart’s mother who introduced him to the game when he was just 4 years old.
The love for the game only grew from there. Now at 19, the captain of the Glendale College baseball team and starting outfielder aspires for a future in the major leagues.
He first started playing tee ball when he was four years old in the JWV League for the Reds and continued to play until he was 11 years old, when he stopped playing little league.
Ochart rotated throughout the field playing first base, shortstop and pitcher.
He went on to attend Hoover High School, in Glendale, where he played varsity part of his freshmen year, and stayed on varsity his sophomore through his senior years. During his junior year in high school, Ochart gave the outfield a chance and has played there ever since.
Asides from having athletic skills in high school, Ochart was also successful in the classroom. He took some AP and Honors classes and earned the National Merit Scholar award his senior year.
Ochart owes a lot of his success to his high school baseball coach, Jim Delzell, who passed away unexpectedly last year. “He is an inspiration helped me grow into a good baseball player, a hard worker, and a good person,” said Ochart. “He was a good role model.”
The 2008 Hoover alumni chose Glendale as his next stepping stone in his career. He believed that the coaches and the program seemed like a good fit, and the fact that he had a few friends on the team made it easier to commit.
During the summer of 2009, he played on four different summer league teams, including the La Crescenta All-Star team, the Foothill Dodgers (a Dodgers scout team), the Blue Jays in the PCBL Sunday League (in which some of the GCC assistant coaches played), and the La Crescenta Valley Tigers in a league called Connie Mack. He also played with the Hoover team when they needed players.
He was chosen to be team captain by the players, and being chosen by his peers was the most important thing. He sets a good example, he works hard, and he’s got the sophomore leadership.
“He’s the kind of guy who leads by example,” said head coach Chris Cicuto.
This season he is starting in left field and has put up some good numbers on offense. His batting average is .333, with a triple and a game winning home run in the 10th inning against Moorpark College.
And as Ochart says, “how I play baseball always reflects how I do in school.”
According Cicuto, how Ochart does in school and the way he goes about things off the field reflects the way he plays on the field, “it’s relational.”
This semester he is taking a total of 18 units, 12 of which are academic and count toward his associate’s degree in social science, which he will obtain this spring.
He hopes to transfer out and continue to play baseball. He hopes to eventually get his degree in kinesiology from USC. For now, Washington Adventist University in Maryland has shown interest in Ochart.
A lot of baseball players from Glendale have gone to Washington Adventist on scholarships. The first thing the school looks at are transcripts and what the athletes about do off the field.
Academically, Glendale does a great job and that’s why Washington Adventist has such a good relationship with its athletes.
His dream is to play in the majors. “Always has been,” said Ochart. “I plan on playing until I’m too old, too hurt, or too bad and then go on to coach high school baseball.”
So far, Ochart has played full- time, year-round for 10 years. There have been a few injuries here and there, but nothing ever too serious to keep him from playing the game.
He lives by a quote from the late actor James Dean: “dream as if you’ll live forever. Live as if you’ll die today.” He believes that if he lives by these words he won’t have any regrets.
Ochart strives for his future both academically and athletically. His mother introduced him to the game, his high school coach inspired him to work harder in his honor, and the desire to be up there with big guys keeps him playing the game each and every day.
“He deserves success and he plays the game with passion,” said Cicuto. “He’s got plenty of opportunities. Whether he’s playing at Washington Adventist or professional baseball he’s going to have tremendous success.”
Orchat is a work in progress, with perhaps the best chapter waiting to be written.