Ronnie Gajownik named manager of High-A Hillsboro

PHOENIX — When she was rising up in Orlando, Fla., Ronnie Gajownik’s dad would typically take her out of faculty to go to a Spring Training recreation with him. Baseball was a ardour for her, however as she would stare out onto the sector, there was one thing she did not see — individuals who seemed like her. Instead, it was a recreation performed, coached and managed by males.

Thanks to girls like Gajownik, that’s not the case.

After serving as a coach within the Arizona D-backs’ Minor League system in 2022, Gajownik (pronounced Gah-jow-nick) was named manager of the High-A Hillsboro Hops on Friday because the membership launched its Minor League teaching staffs for 2023 .

“I do know that if my dad took me out of faculty on a Wednesday and we went to a baseball recreation and I noticed a feminine coach on the sector, I do know Thursday my life would have been altering within the trajectory of the place I would like it to go,” Gajownik mentioned. “So the visibility facet of it’s big, as a result of, once more, it is exhibiting little women and exhibiting girls that we’re breaking the glass ceiling and we’re leaving breadcrumbs for everyone behind us for us simply to maintain including on to it to see how far can we go.”

Last 12 months, Rachel Balkovec turned the primary feminine manager in skilled baseball when she led the Yankees’ Class A crew, the Tampa Tarpons. This 12 months, Gajownik will turn out to be the primary lady to handle on the High-A stage. The two lately spoke by telephone after Balkovec realized of Gajownik’s promotion.

“It was undoubtedly helpful, and I do know that her and I are going to have a very good friendship,” Gajownik mentioned. “I do know that her and I can lean on each other, if wanted.”

Gajownik, who gained a gold medal within the 2015 Pan-American Games as half of Team USA’s girls’s baseball crew, began with the D-backs in 2021 as a video assistant at Hillsboro. It’s a job that has confirmed to be a terrific pipeline into the group for coaches, scouts and analysts.

When Arizona farm director Josh Barfield visited Hillsboro in the course of the season and interacted with Gajownik, he got here away from the expertise considering that she would make a superb coach.

“It was simply her data of the sport,” Barfield mentioned. “She had a taking part in background. And the way in which she’s capable of talk — the starvation she possessed, the will to be taught and develop — it simply all stood out.”

As different members of the group made stops in Hillsboro, they got here to the identical conclusion: Gajownik belonged in teaching.

So after they had been making out the Minor League employees assignments for 2022, Gajownik was ticketed to be a coach on one of the D-backs’ Rookie Arizona Complex League groups.

However, a line drive off the bat of high prospect Corbin Carroll modified all of that.

Carroll was taking a entrance toss from Double-A Amarillo coach Javier Colina, and he smoked a ball that shattered Colina’s foot. Colina would want surgical procedure and pins inserted, and Amarillo due to this fact wanted a coach, so the D-backs promoted Gajownik, who spent the season teaching first base.

“She went on the market and it took her about two seconds to suit proper into the group,” Barfield mentioned. “She did a terrific job working with the fellows in Amarillo. She’s simply received such an ease about her, the way in which she connects with folks. I believe some of the very best coaches — clearly they’ve good content material and he or she has that. But I additionally assume they’re unimaginable connectors and he or she’s undoubtedly one of these. She reveals management, she reveals initiative.”

Gajownik additionally served as a coach final fall for the Salt River Rafters within the Arizona Fall League, and when the D-backs had been placing collectively their teaching employees for this 12 months, she was, in Barfield’s phrases, “a simple selection.”

“On behalf of all the group, we congratulate Ronnie on this important milestone as she turns into the second feminine crew manager in Minor League Baseball and on the highest developmental stage,” mentioned D-backs crew president and CEO Derrick Hall. “We sit up for witnessing her continued development inside participant growth as she shapes and develops the long run stars of the D-backs, whereas persevering with to be an amazing level of delight for the enterprise.”

Gajownik returns to Hillsboro, the place her skilled baseball profession started and the place she already has relationships. She is aware of the proprietor, the final manager, the folks within the entrance workplace and her spouse additionally works within the group.

“It feels nice to get this chance, particularly with the Diamondbacks,” Gajownik mentioned. “They noticed my potential in me as a coach and as an individual, after which clearly taking that likelihood with me final 12 months. So this chance means so much to me. Hopefully, everyone who’s been concerned with me and likewise hopefully all of the little women and the ladies who’re seeing this know that should you’re certified, you are able to do it. And … that is all you have to be. If you are certified, you possibly can go forward and do no matter it’s you are keen about about.”

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