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OHS Catcher Bryce Kirk Signs On With UOP
Now that he has completed his playing days for Oakdale High School, catcher Bryce Kirk, center, has signed with UOP and will be playing college baseball for the Tigers in Stockton. He is shown here with his parents Janice and Robert Kirk. DENNIS D. CRUZ/THE LEADER

For four years, Bryce Kirk was the signal caller for the Oakdale Mustangs varsity baseball team. When Kirk first stepped on the baseball field at the varsity level his freshman year, he was shy and quiet. To outsiders he did not seem like a typical catcher. However, Kirk put all doubts aside when he took the squat behind the dish. The young man solidified his spot on the team and from day one, Kirk has been one of the marquee players in the respectable program.

This fall the well scouted and highly sought after Kirk will be starting his collegiate career close to home, attending University of the Pacific in Stockton.

“The coaching staff for UOP made me feel like family right off the bat, and that made me feel comfortable,” Kirk explained. “Also the (size of the) classrooms where the professors know your name is important to me and in my education.”

Kirk’s freshman and sophomore seasons at Oakdale High School were impressive, as he committed only one error in that time frame. It was his junior year where he broke out and connected on two home run balls, ranking him fourth in the Valley Oak League. Kirk settled in comfortably at the plate and became a fierce batter that saw an increase in walks issued to him due to his power. Opposing pitchers feared Kirk and walked him 16 times. This past school year, during his senior season, the Mustang standout batted .329 with a slugging percentage at .630 while blasting a league high four home runs during the campaign. He also connected on a team high 10 doubles this season and committed only one error. Kirk was voted as the Valley Oak League’s Most Valuable Player and was also named the team’s Most Valuable Player as voted by his teammates. In his senior year the team went 14-0 in league play, winning their first league title in years and went to the Section Championship game, ultimately taking runner-up honors.

“The biggest thing I will take away from my time in an Oakdale uniform is the work ethic the coaches helped me with. They taught me how to grind and battle through so much,” said Kirk. “It has been an honor to play in this program with so many great baseball players, and I honestly feel like the best coaching staff a high school baseball player could ask for. I will be bringing their knowledge with me and I will continue to work hard and grind at any other level of baseball that I play in the future.”

Kirk is undecided on what he will be majoring in but has narrowed it down to business marketing or physical therapy.