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Baseball Long Beach State Millikan

FEATURE: Millikan Star Ryan Geck Commits To Dirtbags

Ryan Geck burst onto the scene last season, doing things ninth graders aren’t supposed to be able to do on Bohl Diamond at Blair Field. At 6-foot-3 and 230 lbs., the Millikan first baseman dwarfed opponents and teammates alike while showing flashes of his prodigious power at the plate. Not since the days of Sean Burroughs in the Little League World Series have so many Long Beach baseball fans been forced to question, “Wait, how old is this kid?”

Even though his sophomore season with the Rams was cancelled, Geck is still poised to play a lot more baseball at Blair Field in the years ahead. The young first baseman has made his college commitment last week to stay home and play at Long Beach State.

“I wanted to stay in Long Beach so all of my friends and family can go to my games easily,” said Geck of his decision to be a Dirtbag. “It also feels like you’re playing for your city at the same time and I like that, too. I realize that even more now because random people that I’ve never met who went to Long Beach State have been congratulating me. So just because I’m from Long Beach and I decided to stay here and play here, I feel like a lot of people would come to see me play and I like the thought of that.”

Based on Geck’s performance as a freshman in 2019, Dirtbags fans should like the thought of that too. The powerful right-hander hit .422 with eight extra-base hits, scoring 18 runs and driving in 15 across 26 games at the varsity level. He walked 17 times compared to just eight strikeouts, helping him to a stellar .549 on-base percentage and 1.143 OPS.

“He was putting up senior stats,” said Millikan head coach Ron Keester of Geck’s performance as a freshman. “He was so good for us, and we had high expectations of him. We dropped him in the middle of the lineup knowing he’s a team leader and that he was working hard. He was getting all this attention and was able to handle it and be a good role model and teammate to the rest of the kids.”

Keester said the plan was to bring him along gradually and see how the young player would develop, but Geck took his opportunity and ran with it.

“He came in the second game and did so well we wanted to give him more at bats,” Keester recalled. “Then he was hitting so well we couldn’t have him miss a game the rest of the season.”

 Listed at 6-foot-3, 230 lbs., Ryan Geck already looks like a Division I college baseball player. He’s in 10th grade.

With a rare combination of size and talent at such a young age, there’s no telling what Geck’s ceiling might be as a player. He’s already drawn comparisons to another physically-imposing Millikan first baseman, Jon Singleton, who was an eighth round pick out of high school in the 2009 MLB Draft. But Geck is actually listed one inch taller than Singleton while still a high school sophomore and, according to Keester, he’s still learning how to fully harness his physical gifts.

“For his size, he’s really athletic,” Keester explained. “He does things you wouldn’t expect someone his size would be able to do. He’s really growing into it and using his strength more.”

Unfortunately, Geck’s sophomore campaign never got off the ground thanks to a minor wrist injury that kept him off the field to begin the year, and then the COVID-19 shutdown of the entire season. He says he’s rested and healthy now, but there’s no clear timetable for when sports will resume. But that gave him the chance to focus on his future and lock in his college commitment, even though it came earlier than anticipated.

“Coming into this year, the plan for me and my family was to wait,” said Geck of his timetable for making his decision for college. “But I knew that (Long Beach State) is where I was going to want to go and they were closing in on how many spots they had left, so I felt like this was the right time to do it.”

Last Fall, Geck had the chance to tour the Long Beach State facilities and campus with the newly-hired Dirtbags coaching staff, led by head coach Eric Valenzuela. Since then he has remained in contact with the coaching staff and made the decision to commit after speaking to Coach Valenzuela on the phone, the way all recruiting is being done right now by NCAA regulation. He credits the coaching staff as the main reason for his commitment, and sees a promising future ahead for the Dirtbags.

“They’re different, and we’re going to be different when I’m there,” said Geck of his impressions of the coaching staff. “This was expected to be a slower rebuilding year, but they just blew up this year, it was crazy. When we get even more people coming in, I think we’re going to be a serious Omaha contender.”

Tyler Hendrickson
Tyler Hendrickson was born and raised in Long Beach, and started covering sports in his hometown in 2010. After five years as a sportswriter, Tyler joined the athletic department at Long Beach State University in 2015. He spent more than four years in the athletic communications department, working primarily with the Dirtbags baseball program. Tyler also co-authored of The History of Long Beach Poly: Scholars & Champions.