Westmoreland Alumni Q&A with Jack Oberdorf

The former Greensburg Salem Golden Lion is now a standout at Seton Hill University

Wed Apr 13, 2022 - 12:18AM

Sean Meyers Sean Meyers

Last Updated: Wed Apr 13, 2022 - 12:24AM

The Oberdorf name has been synonymous with Greensburg Salem athletics for the past decade, and Jack Oberdorf has continued to excel athletically in his hometown. After producing multiple stellar campaigns with the Golden Lions, Oberdorf has solidified himself as a top performer on the diamond at Seton Hill University. The Griffins’ junior third baseman is the latest featured athlete in the Westmoreland Alum Q&A.

Oberdorf was a significant contributor as a freshman at Greensburg Salem in 2016, as the Golden Lions went 8-9 overall, but missed the WPIAL playoffs with a section mark of 4-6.

The following year, Oberdorf played in 16 games, hitting .431 with 14 runs scored, four RBIs, and four stolen bases. The Golden Lions posted a record of 9-7, including 8-6 in the section. As a result, Greensburg Salem qualified for the Class 4A playoffs, but fell to New Castle in the first round.

In 2018, Oberdorf appeared in 19 games, posting an average of .364 along with 17 runs, 18 RBIs, and five steals. Collectively, the Golden Lions improved to 13-7, including 10-4 in the section. In the WPIAL 4A bracket, GS defeated South Park and Blackhawk, but fell to Ringgold in the semifinals. The Golden Lions dropped a consolation game against Hopewell, failing to advance to the PIAA postseason.

In Oberdorf’s senior campaign, he played in 17 games, hitting .415 with 24 runs, 22 RBIs, a home run, and five steals. He also contributed on the mound, working 9.2 innings with an ERA of 1.45 and notching a save. Greensburg Salem went 14-3 overall, including 10-2 in section play, but lost to New Castle in the Class 4A quarterfinals to conclude the season.

In addition to his success in baseball at Greensburg Salem, Oberdorf was also a four-year letterwinner in golf, and he earned three letters in basketball.

His college future remained on the diamond, however, as he matriculated to nearby Seton Hill University. As a freshman in 2020, Oberdorf played in eight games, including five starts. During that action, he hit .400 with four RBIs and four runs. The Griffins went 9-4 before the rest of the season was cancelled because of COVID.

Last year, Oberdorf became the starting third baseman for SHU, playing in 45 games, including 43 starts. He posted a .282 average with 37 RBIs, 34 runs, and seven homers. The Griffins, meanwhile, enjoyed a historic season, going 39-8 overall, and 23-4 in the Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference (PSAC). In the PSAC Tournament, the Griffins ousted Gannon in the first round, and then swept Mercyhurst to advance to the conference title championship. Seton Hill lost to Bloomsburg in three games, but still advanced to the NCAA Division II Atlantic Regional. From there, SHU avenged the losses to Bloomsburg, and then bested Millersville twice to move on to the NCAA Championships in Cary, North Carolina. The Griffins scored a win against Southern New Hampshire, but lost to Angelo State and Wingate to conclude the season.

This campaign, Oberdorf has played in all 30 games, posting an average of .348 with 23 runs, 26 RBIs, five home runs, and three steals. The Griffins have enjoyed another sterling season, boasting a record of 23-7-1, including 9-3 in the PSAC West.

Jack took time to answer questions about the Griffins trip to the DII College World Series, the impact his older sisters had on his career, and the best advice he ever received.

Q: You've been on a tear at the plate over the past few weeks. What has led to that success?

A: I have just been trying to simplify things at the plate; stay within myself and really try and do what I do best.

Q: What are the biggest factors in your strong defensive play at third?

A: I truly think my best defensive days stem from pregame preparation. The days that I have really locked it in before the game, with the glove, are the days the game seems a lot slower on the defensive side.

Q: How has your role evolved throughout your time at Seton Hill?

A: I was fortunate to come into Seton Hill with such a great group of upperclassmen to help guide me. Guys like Parker Denny, Adam Bankovich, and Kailen Grimm come to mind. My role now is to lead and set examples for the younger guys, just like those older Griffs did for me.

Q: Last year, the Griffins reached the Division II World Series. What made that team special?

A: That was an incredible experience to be a part of. That group of guys we had last year had all been through a lot together after losing Mac (Maclean Maund). Our team was able to grow closer and tighter in that time and form some of the strongest relationships I have seen. This, without a doubt, made the 2021 season so special being with such a great group of guys who had each other’s backs.

Q: What individual and team goals did you set for 2022?

A: Last year, the program took a big step with making it to Cary. This year, the goal is get better and take one more step - get there and win games, since we now know what it takes. Individually, my goal is to get better every at-bat, every game, and every day.

Q: What led to your decision to attend Seton Hill?

A: I was drawn into becoming a part of the culture of Seton Hill. I like being close to home and I am privileged to be a part of such an excellent baseball program.

Q: What is your major, and ideal future profession?

A: Business administration. My ideal profession is to teach the game of baseball. I would like to open my own baseball facility.

Q: Your two older sisters both played college softball. How did they impact your athletic career?

A: Jayne and Claire played a bigger role in my athletic development than I realized at the time of their college career. They showed me what hard work looks like and blazed the trail for me.

Q: What was your fondest memory at Greensburg Salem?

A: I loved always being in season at Greensburg; golf in the fall, basketball in the winter, then baseball in the spring.

Q: Do you still follow the Golden Lions athletics or the WPIAL?

A: Being close to home, I’ve been able to follow the Golden Lions and even make some games over the last few years. It is a lot of fun to go back and see everyone, and it brings back a lot of great memories.

Q: If you could have one at bat against anyone, past or present, who would you choose? What would be the outcome?

A: In one at bat, I would want to face Jacob deGrom. The outcome would not be in my favor, but give me 100 at bats, and maybe I get to him.

Q: You played a few seasons in the summer with SHU Assistant AD Jason Greene. What did you learn from Jason that has helped you become the player you are today?

A: Greene taught me a lot when we played together in the summer. He showed me what a simple mind looks like in the box, and without a doubt, one of the best backside hitters I’ve ever seen.

Q: Do you have any superstitions or rituals before, during, or after a game?

A: I’m not a very superstitious person, however, before every game, I like to get up early and read to get my mind going.

Q: To which movie or TV show can you recite nearly every line?

A: There are a few, but I can say just about every line from The Natural and it’s my favorite movie.

Q: If you could only have one meal the rest of your life, what would it be?

A: I could eat steak and potatoes for the rest of my life.

Q: What is the best advice you've ever received?

A: The best advice that I’ve ever received was from my grandfather. When I was growing up, he would tell me to make sure that what I do today makes me better than I was yesterday.