Three years ago, then-freshman Bryce Kirk was named the Oakdale Mustangs starting catcher … for the varsity baseball team. Having to earn the respect of his upperclassmen teammates and a first year head coach in Nate Gregory, Kirk wasted little time and made a major impact on the team. Fast forward to today and Kirk is still the signal caller behind the plate on the varsity team as he will enter his final season as a Mustang next spring.
“Bryce has been a great ambassador for our program,” said Coach Gregory. “He has established a great standard for all of the catchers within the Mustang baseball family. He is a model student, community member and teammate. I am excited for his future as a college baseball player.”
Of course before he joins the college ranks, Kirk is focusing on his final season with the Mustangs as well as his final year at Oakdale High School, as he prepares to start his senior year next month.
“My goal for my senior season is to stay consistent throughout the year on the field. Off the field, my goal is to get good grades and continue to work hard in the weight room,” said the 6’0” catcher and first baseman Kirk.
Although the high school season came to an end in May, Kirk has continued to shine and put in hard work during the off season. Recently, he traveled to San Diego for a three-day baseball showcase. Kirk is the first Oakdale Mustang to be invited to participate in the California Baseball Coaches Association (CBCA) California North-South Showcase at the University of California San Diego.
“It’s a huge honor. There have been some really good baseball players at OHS in the past so to hear that I am the first in the school’s history is a real honor,” Kirk said of the accomplishment.
He was nominated by his coach and was accepted by the voting committee. In a field of hundreds of San Diego showcase hopefuls across the state, Kirk showed his coaches and peers that he belonged in the final field of 25 players. After three days of lengthy tryouts that included morning hitting, fielding and bullpen work, Kirk’s name was called out to be on the final roster.
“I was very excited. There were a lot of talented baseball players out there. I knew some of them from games that I have played in before from the local area and out of town as well,” Kirk said on his teammates.
He was named the starting catcher for the North, which featured a total of three catchers on the team. The trio of talented catchers alternated every three innings of work throughout the three game showcase against their South counterparts. In game one, Kirk and the North defeated the South 9-6. However, game two went to the South in a 13-1 final to even the best two-out of-three series. The North bounced back with a 1-0 victory to win the 47th annual Showcase event.
“This was an amazing experience. To play at UCSD was a blessing. I couldn’t help but think ‘This could be my future’ (the prospect of playing for a university or even the big stage someday),” Kirk said of playing in front of a large crowd.
His off season is not over yet, as Kirk will be returning to San Diego in the fall to take place in the San Diego showcase for Major League Baseball’s Miami Marlins.
“This is my second time getting the invite by the scout team. I went last year and I am looking forward to going again this year,” Kirk said. “I am truly blessed and honored to be a part of all this. This is the game I love and I cannot wait to see what happens.”