Connor Anglin, senior at Ell-Saline High School, had big expecations this coming season after starting the last two years and earning all-state honorable mention for his high school baseball team.
Those expecations won't happen in 2020 because of Covid-19 and the cancellation of all spring sports in Kansas. Anglin hit .462 last season along with two homers and five doubles in 2019. He also hit .400 as a sophomore in 2018. He also earned all-league second team honors at catcher in the HOA in addition to all-state honorable mention. Anglin was also battling back from a shoulder injury last year and finished the season 15 of 19 hitting after getting his shoulder fixed.
The 5-foot-10 175-pound catcher is much more than just a baseball player. He has qualified and competed in 16 state or national tournaments representing Ell-Saline in Forensics, BPA, Science Olympiad and FFA. He holds a 3.94 GPA in the clasroom and his favorite subject is History.
We caught up with Anglin below about the lost season.
Q&A w/ Anglin
How did you get involved in sports?
I’ve been playing baseball since I was 4. My parents were coaching my older brother’s six year old coach pitch team, and I really wanted to play. So the next year they asked for permission for me to play, and lied about my age. I was able to hold my own against the older kids and had a really great time being out there with the bigger kids.
Biggest accomplishment off the field/court?
I participate in a variety of activities for Ell-Saline. My biggest accomplishment off the field is that I have qualified and competed in 16 state or national tournaments representing Ell-Saline in Forensics, Business Professionals of America(BPA), Science Olympiad, and FFA. I took 4th place in 2A State Forensics with my brother my freshman year in Duet Acting. We almost didn’t get to compete as our coach didn’t believe we were good enough to compete at the state tournament. I’ve competed at National tournaments in Milwaukee for Forensics, and Orlando and Dallas for BPA. I won state this year in SQL Database Fundamentals and had qualified to compete at Nationals in Washington D.C. this year, but with everything going on with Covid-19 it was cancelled with everything else.
What were your goals this season?
I was really disappointed in how I started my 2019 baseball season going 0 for 13. I finished last season on fire at the plate going 15 for 19. So I worked really hard during the summer, fall, and winter in the weight room to have a great start and even better year. My personal goal for the 2020 baseball season was to hit .650 with a least 6 homeruns. I also wanted to be first team on all the awards at the end of the season, and be in the conversation for 2-1A Player of the Year. As a team, we had a more experienced team coming back after losing only one player, Joel Came, last year and having 7 seniors returning, our goal was to make it to state. I really wanted to get back to Great Bend.
What makes you such a force as an athlete?
My teammates during the 2018 season nicknamed me “Da Machine” because I was so consistent at the plate when I got to play. To be as consistent as I have been at the plate is a direct result of all the blisters, hours, and years of extra t-work and batting practice in season and off season to make my swing what it is. I’ve watched countless hours of great players and their swings, and catchers and their footwork to improve every aspect of my game since I was 4. This year I really hit the weight room hard to improve my bat speed and be intimidating at the plate. What makes me a force as an athlete? It is my dedication and hard work in the attempt to perfect my craft and my game in the sport that I love.
What’s it like to play multiple sports?
I don’t play other sports. I would have liked the ability to test my power in football. However, when I was 4 I was diagnosed with a potential brain tumor, which, after a trip to the great doctors at Children’s Mercy Hospital in Kansas City my parents were told it was nothing to worry about. Before I was born my parents had several sonograms that showed I would be potentially still born because it showed my skull was not properly developing. They had to go to Wichita to get a special sonogram done with a clearer picture. That sonogram showed them I would be fine. My parents believed with the health scares they had with me before I was born and even started school, they didn’t want to risk my health with all the latest reports on concussions and CTE.
Explain the heartbreak it was like to hear that the senior season in sports is cut short?
First, I feel bad for every student in Kansas and all over the country. This is a time in their lives they will never get back. There are moments and memories that would have happened for each and every one of them, both good and bad, that they won’t get to experience. These are moments that would have helped to define the person we are and the person we will be. For me, really, it was indescribable. I had put so much time in preparing for my final baseball season as a Cardinal, and with a stroke of a pen from our governor the season was gone. I know deep down it was the right thing to do for the health of everybody, but it still hurts. I wanted this year to be the year that I showed I belonged in the conversation as one of the best baseball players in 2-1A if not the state. Now, I have to fight a little harder to get the attention of the college coaches out there looking for a catcher with what one of my coaches says is the sweetest swings he has ever seen. But, I am willing to put in the work.
I’m doing my studies on-line like everyone else. I’m working hard in the weight room and watching swings on line. I am hoping that everything settles down in time for there to be an American Legion baseball season.
What is your best sport?
Baseball is the best sport since that is the only sport I play.
What’s the atmosphere like to play for your school and town?
Our community is great. They support the school and the students really well. You will see people out there supporting the current students who had students that have long since graduated. When we made it to state in 2018 we had a huge crowd that made the trip to Great Bend to support the team. The Ell-Saline Cardinals are a family and our family is huge.
Who were other key players on your team(s)?
We had a team full of potential this year. We had Owen Bradley, who is one of the better lead-off hitters in our league. Colton Bunting is a great utility player. Myles Work who made great strides from his freshman to sophomore year, and was expected to do really good things this year. Seniors Caleb Umscheid and Coleson Hopkins made strong contributions last year and would have excelled this year. Peyton Powell only played in two games last year due to transfer rules, would have exploded this year. Junior Colton Bell has been contributing for the varsity squad since his freshman year. Senior Keegan Harrington was going to be a strong contributor this year as well. It was really looking to be a potentially strong 2020 campaign.
Favorite thing about sports you play?
Being on the field, in the batter’s box, staring down the pitcher as he looks in for the sign from his catcher, and knowing whatever he decides to throw is going to go in the opposite direction very quickly and definitely very far.
What is it like to play for your coaches?
Our coaches are great. Both Joe Roche and Chris Carazo bring a tremendous amount of knowledge about the game of baseball. They are very supportive of every player that comes out for the team. Coach Roche is texting his players every day during this lost season offering an upbeat attitude and attempting to console all of us. J.P. Schneider is great. I owe a lot to J.P. During my sophomore year the confidence he showed in my abilities allowed me to remain positive while I rode the bench during the first half of the season. Thank you Joe, Chris, and J.P. for everything that you have done for us. It is greatly appreciated.
How much preparation had you put into sports?
I have always put a lot of preparation into baseball. In my younger days I would ask my dad to get to practice an hour early so I could take extra cuts off the tee or live pitching. Then we would often stay late to take more cuts. I would look on-line for different techniques, philosophies, and approaches on how to look for, identify, and hit the variety of pitches that can be thrown. During the 2018 Cardinals state game against KC Christian, my preparation on hitting off speed pitches during the off-season allowed me to have the game winning hit in the top of the seventh on a slider. I also really hit the weight room hard this summer and school year so I would be a force in the batter’s box and behind the plate.
What interest are you seeing at the next level and what are your plans?
I haven’t received any offers at this time to continue to play baseball at the college level. I was really hoping that this year would open some eyes around the state about my abilities, and an offer or two would come. I have been looking to study Computer Science or Political Science, but with everything going on around the world right now I have considered possibly changing to a medical field major.
Favorite thing to do when you aren’t playing sports?
I enjoy being outdoors working in the yard, helping my grand-parents, working out, or watching Netflix.
Where do you see yourself in 10 years?
I was born a few days after 9/11 and our country was in turmoil. Now as I look to start my next step in my life’s journey our country again is in turmoil. We have leaders and people in our country that look to do what is best for their parties rather than what is best for the American people. In ten years I hope to have a college degree and be in profession that can help the lives of the American people better.
Favorite subject in school, what type of student are you, GPA?
I have a 3.94 GPA. I have been very fortunate to have good teachers at Ell-Saline that have allowed me to excel in my studies. My favorite subject would be History since it was with Coach Roche, and we would discuss baseball quite a bit.
Who is your role model?
In baseball it would be Mike Trout. He can does some amazing things on and off the baseball field. In life though it would have to be my family. My mom, dad, and grand-parents have always been there to support me, and have taught me what it will take to be successful in my future. My brother Duncan has been a great source of inspiration in my life. He set the bar really high for me to strive for with all of his success in high school. He is also my best friend, someone I know I can always count on, and will always be there for me whenever I need him.
Best place to eat in your town or the surrounding area?
I really like IHOP or the Huddle House. Both places really have good waffles.
What would you say to the underclassmen out there right now reading this?
If you want to be successful it is going to take hard work and dedication. Don’t take for granted the opportunities that you have been given to play/compete in the activities that you do. This lost season has proven everything that we take for granted can be taken away at any moment. But I will share this with you. In 20 years no one will remember the game where you had 5 touchdowns, 20 points, or even the game winning hit. However, everyone will remember your character, how you carried yourself off the field/court, and how you treated others. So treat everyone with kindness and be the person that in 20 years everyone remembers as one of the best individuals that they ever met.
One thing the average person wouldn’t know about you?
I am a pretty open book. However, the average person would not know how good of a dramatic actor I can be. In my years of doing Forensics I performed several dramatic pieces that left the judges and audience members wiping tears away.
Anything else to add?
I want to thank all of my classmates, teammates, teachers, coaches, and the Ell-Saline supporters. Your tremendous support has helped me in becoming the person I am today. Love you mom.
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