First team all-conference. Second team All-District. Honorable mention all-area.
Those are just some of the accolades outfielder Eric Modaff earned before graduating from Oregon High School in 2017. Listed at 5-10 and 170 pounds, the left-handed outfielder finished a stellar high school career batting .412 his senior year, fielding a handful of college offers before deciding to attend the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh.
“Oshkosh was really the only state school that offered, other than schools in Minnesota and Iowa schools,” he said. “Oshkosh was the one that stuck.”
Modaff suffered a setback his freshman year after breaking his hand and was granted a medical redshirt for the year. The following season, he took advantage of limited playing time, batting .296 with a .346 on-base percentage and collected five RBI In 20 games.
In his third season this year, Modaff was the starting centerfielder, but after six games, the season was called off because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“We weren’t really sure how it was going to play out,” he said. “Obviously you put in a lot of work and you kind of get into a groove and then it was kind of put to a halt.”
Modaff admits the lost season took a toll on him, as he knows his time as a college athlete is coming to an end, as while he’s listed as a sophomore on the roster, he has senior status academically.
Fall baseball has already been canceled for UW-Oshkosh, which still plans on practicing this fall. With another unpredictable year ahead because of the pandemic, the team has established rules to help ensure players stay safe, limiting workout times and keeping practices spaced out between groups of 10 players. If a player tests positive, they must self-quarantine.
Many questions remain about the next season, though, and Modaff is unclear of the future.
“Everybody is looking around for answers,” he said. “And nobody seems to have one.”
All the same, Modaff is determined to go out with a bang, with his top two priorities to win the conference and start every game. And he thinks his experience will take him a long way this season in helping him and his team achieve those goals.
“As our coach described it to us, we only had a couple missing parts from last year to win the conference,” he said. “We just have to find the solution.”
Modaff plans on graduating with a degree in criminal justice but is still undecided about a career path.
“I just want to play,” he said. “I just want to play college sports like I was able to and for it to not be shut-down.”