Former Oakdale High School student-athlete Sean Gingerich is thriving in his post Mustang days. The young man battled his way back from a catastrophic knee injury to play at Modesto Junior College and this fall he will be advancing his education and baseball career at Sonoma State.
“It was a perfect match,” Gingerich said of Sonoma State. “The campus is beautiful and the classrooms are anywhere from 23 to 28 students on average which is a perfect learning environment. I knew Sonoma State would be the perfect place for me and this fall I will be attending.”
Gingerich graduated from Oakdale High School in 2016 and in his junior year he was one of the premier players in the baseball program.
“He was a huge asset to our team and program. He was a leader and a heck of ball player. His batting average was out of this world, it was like video game stuff. Unreal,” said former Mustangs coach and current staff member at Modesto Junior College, Nate Gregory.
However, Gingerich was a multisport athlete at Oakdale High School and was also a football player. In a game against Weston Ranch in his senior year, Gingerich fielded a kickoff and went down awkwardly.
“I tore my ACL and meniscus. I was devastated,” the athlete admitted.
The injury sidelined Gingerich not only the remainder of the football season; but also resulted in him missing his senior season on the baseball diamond.
With an 18-month recovery, Gingerich was not in any rush to return to baseball. He tried focusing on his school work and his career at Oakdale Golf and Country Club.
“I enjoyed working at the Country Club. It was fun and taught me a lot about responsibility,” he said.
In 2018, Coach Gregory had Gingerich come out to field ground balls at MJC. Shortly into the session, Gingerich felt comfortable enough and began to play at full speed.
“I credit Coach Gregory and that day for my return to baseball. I was still dealing with the mental part of my injury. I was not sure I could return to my old form but Coach Gregory showed me how much I truly missed the game,” Gingerich explained. “That’s when I decided to come back.”
Gingerich began playing at Modesto Junior College in 2019 and not only returned to the sport he loves, but was put in the starting lineup for the Pirates and batted leadoff. Against Los Medanos Gingerich hit a leadoff single up the middle for his first hit.
“My first at bat, in my first game back I swung on a fast ball and it went up the middle and when I reached first base I embraced with first base coach Joe Peterson,” Gingerich said.
Peterson also coached at Oakdale High School during Gingerich’s high school career.
So far this season, Gingerich is batting .225 with five RBI, nine runs and has four stolen bases for MJC, where he typically plays an infield position on defense.
“I owe so much to Coach Gregory and my parents for encouraging me to continue my success and return to baseball as well as my education. If it was not for them I’m not sure I’d be playing.”
Gingerich also acknowledged his current coaching staff at Modesto Junior College including Zeb Brayton, Scott Gehl, Paul Chavez, Mark de la Motte and Alex Leach; and his teammates.
At Sonoma State, Gingerich will be reunited with former OHS teammates Vito Rodin and Marco Gonzalez. Gingerich is studying to earn a degree in business.