Madison, WI – February 12, 2009. Former decorated Oklahoma high school two-sport athlete Mark Ginther has signed with the Mallards for the 2009 season, giving the team flexibility in finding a cohesive left side of the infield. Ginther, who will be used extensively as a shortstop and third-baseman during his freshman year at Oklahoma State this spring, is a graduate of Jenks High School in Tulsa, Okla. where he helped lead the school to back-to-back state football championships as a quarterback his junior and senior campaigns. He wasn’t too shabby on the baseball diamond either, hitting .430 with 8 home runs and 50 RBIs his senior year. He also posted a 9-1 record and 0.99 ERA with 88 strikeouts in 56.2 innings on the mound. Ginther was drafted in the 48th round of the 2008 MLB Draft by the Philadelphia Phillies.
Although he was recruited heavily out of high school to play college football, Mark never received any formal offers or scholarships. However on the baseball diamond, he was recruited by Arizona State, Arkansas, Oklahoma, Nebraska, LSU, and Missouri before deciding to attend nearby Oklahoma State.
“I always knew my best chances of playing at the professional level was in the game of baseball, so I wasn’t put-off by the lack of scholarships in the football world,” said the 6’4” youngster.
Ginther, like his other first-time Mallards teammates, has leaned on former Northwoods League athletes to become familiar with what to expect this summer. Current Cowboy teammate Neil Medchill actually played in Madison last summer and has offered Mark very valuable advice.
“Neil’s been great in giving me tidbits of what to expect this summer and how to better prepare myself for the daily mental grind,” said Ginther.
“He likes to talk about how the crowds for Mallards games are much, much bigger than any college venue we’ll experience this spring. That gets me really excited to experience that atmosphere first-hand.”
And what does it mean to have nine other freshman Mallards teammates to experience the NWL with for the first time?
“It’ll be nice in the sense that we’ll be able to pick each other up during times when we’re struggling a bit in the course of the season. But I fully plan on relying heavily on the seven returning players who have been through a full season before as well,” said Ginther.
Mallards Field Manager C.J. Thieleke points to Ginther’s leadership and ability to perform in high-pressure situations as being important traits Mark possesses in order to be successful this summer.
“Obviously Mark’s body of work from high school speaks for itself and after a solid fall season at OSU, we feel very strongly that he fits that mold of being a perfect Mallard—competitive, smart, and very athletic,” said Thieleke.
“We’re not trying to put too much pressure on Mark, but there’s definitely a buzz about him in Stillwater and we can’t wait to have that carry over into Madison.”