Near the end of each summer, Bishop Carroll senior Taylor Sanagorski went to baseball camp in the locker rooms and bullpens of minor-league baseball.
He visited his dad, Paul Sanagorski, a hitting coach with the Marlins and Nationals, and inevitably found his way to the company of catchers. He watched their drills and talked with them in the locker room. At 13, he caught pitchers throwing 95 mph during practice. Catcher, even with all the aches and bruises that come with it, was his position.
“It's special for me to be able to do that,” he said. “I love being back there and having control of everything that takes place.”
Sanagorski’s baseball upbringing paid off this week when he gave Wichita State an oral commitment. He plans to sign in November, as does Owasso (Okla.) left-handed pitcher Jeb Bargfeldt.
Sanagorski (6-foot, 200 pounds) is a switch-hitter who earned All-City League honors as a junior, helping the Eagles finish second in Class 5A. He chose WSU after also considering Kansas and Kansas State.
“That was stressful,” he said. “Each program was phenomenal. You get to talking with the different coaches and you really do build a relationship with people.”
Wichita Sluggers coach Matt Baty, who played at Kansas, works with Sanagorski and considers him an excellent defensive catcher who is mature beyond his years in working with pitchers and calling games.
“He commands a pitching staff better than any kid I've ever been around, and that includes my time in college baseball,” Baty said. “He’s the prototypical kid that eats and sleeps baseball.”
Sanagorski’s memory and ability to work with pitchers to attack hitters stands out to Baty.
“He's one of our pitching coaches,” Baty said. “He knows when a guy's arm is dragging or when his arm angle is different. You don't get that at all with 17, 18-year old kids. You don't get that in college. I think WSU is getting a guy who can call his own game.”
Sanagorski mulled over his choice of college and asked several people for advice. All of them said to go with his gut.
“At the end of the day, that's what it came down to,” he said. “My heart was here at Wichita State. I followed my heart.”
Bargfeldt (6-0, 170) is one of 34 pitchers named to the Louisville Slugger High School All-America team. He threw a four-hitter in the Class 6A semifinal to help Owasso finish the season 36-0. He was named to the Tulsa World’s All-Metro team after going 9-0 with a 1.29 earned run average.
He said he also considered Coastal Carolina, Kansas State, Oklahoma State and Pittsburgh.
“I really connected well with Coach (Todd) Butler and the rest of the coaching staff,” he said. “I like the fact baseball is taken very seriously there. They treat it like it's a big-time sport.”
Bargfeldt said he throws 86-89 mph and his best pitch is a changeup at about 10 mph slower. John Bargfeldt, his father, played in the minor leagues for the Cubs.
“My dad has taught me the changeup for years,” he said. “I wouldn't have a clue if it wasn't for him.”
WSU has eight known non-binding commitments from athletes in the class of 2014. Rockhurst (Mo.) shortstop Trey Vickers, Manhattan outfielder Bret Fehr, Shawnee Mission East utility player Gunnar Troutwine, pitcher Matt Whalen, from Valor Christian in Highlands Ranch, Colo., Andale-Garden Plain pitcher Tyler Jones and Edmond (Okla.) Deer Creek shortstop Jordan Boyer committed earlier this summer.