Bay Port graduate Connor Bagnieski (Rich Palzewic photo)
BY RICH PALZEWIC
SUAMICO – This was a tough one to predict.
From Bay Port High School to the Green Bay Bullfrogs, 2016 graduate Connor Bagnieski got a chance to live his baseball dream for 12 games with the Bullfrogs.
Bagnieski was picked up by the Northwoods League team after an impressive run earlier this summer with the De Pere Dodgers.
What makes it even more improbable is that Bagnieski hadn’t really seen significant action on the diamond until this summer, dating back to the spring of 2014 as a member of the Bay Port JV team. He saw very little action his junior year because that year’s roster was full of seniors; and then missed his senior year with a broken right wrist.
“It was definitely a little unexpected, but I was finally healthy,” said Bagnieski, who also missed a good chunk of his senior year with the Pirates’ hockey team due to a concussion. “It was very frustrating not being able to play a lot my senior year, but now that the injuries are finally behind me, I didn’t have to worry about it and was able to just play.”
Despite not seeing much action at Bay Port, Bagnieski did play summer ball in the past with Rhino Baseball and just completed his first year with State College of Florida, a junior college team located in Bradenton.
He impressed his coaches with the Dodgers as well.
“Connor is a good kid that has a bright future in front of him,” said De Pere coach/player Casey Meinecke. “When he steps between the lines, he gives nothing less than 100-percent effort.”
Bagnieski was redshirted in Florida his first season, so he will have two years of eligibility remaining. The 19-year-old moved to Bay Port from Mukwonago in April of his freshman year and was able to practice with the team in Florida, but didn’t play in any games.
By his own admission, the left-handed batting Bagnieski got off to a bit of a slow start with the ‘Frogs, but turned that around as he played a few more games.
“It was definitely faster (in the NWL) and the pitching was better,” noted Bagnieski, who ended the season with a .200 batting average (9-for-45) with six runs scored. “I felt like I made some good contact and barreled some balls up, but they just didn’t find the holes.”
Bagnieski, who is a middle infielder by trade, played mostly in the outfield for Green Bay. He also suffered a thumb injury the last week of the season, so that affected how much he could play as the season wound down. Bagnieski said “the thumb is fine and won’t affect him going forward.”
He’s hoping his “interview” with the Bullfrogs will lead to more playing time with State College this upcoming school year and maybe with Green Bay again next season.
“I’ve learned a lot playing in Florida for a year and this year with the Dodgers and Bullfrogs,” added Bagnieski. “It will be very competitive once I get back to school, but I think my experience up here this summer will really help me.”