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Former USF standout hired as second female minor league baseball manager

Veronica “Ronnie” Gajownik played for the Bulls softball team in 2014 and 2015.
Former USF infielder Veronica "Ronnie" Gajownik has been hired as manager of the Hillsboro (Oregon) Hops, a High Class-A affiliate of the Arizona Diamondbacks.
Former USF infielder Veronica "Ronnie" Gajownik has been hired as manager of the Hillsboro (Oregon) Hops, a High Class-A affiliate of the Arizona Diamondbacks. [ Courtesy of Ken Eriksen ]
Published Jan. 21|Updated Jan. 21

Less than a year after the debut of the first female manager of a Major League Baseball-affiliated team, a second has been hired.

This one hails from USF.

Former Bulls all-purpose infielder Veronica “Ronnie” Gajownik has been hired to manage the Hillsboro (Oregon) Hops, the High Class A affiliate of the Arizona Diamondbacks. A 29-year-old Winter Park native, Gajownik becomes the first woman hired as a High-A manager.

Her hiring comes barely more than a year after the Yankees announced the hiring of Rachel Balkovec as manager of the Tampa Tarpons, their Low-A affiliate.

“An amazing bat-and-ball mind recognized for her knowledge, not just her gender,” Bulls softball coach Ken Eriksen said. “I am so proud of her and also her loyalty to the green and gold.”

Former USF infielder Veronica "Ronnie" Gajownik becomes the first woman ever hired as a High-A manager.
Former USF infielder Veronica "Ronnie" Gajownik becomes the first woman ever hired as a High-A manager. [ Photo provide by USF Athletics ]

Gajownik played two seasons at USF, 2014-15, amassing a .273 batting average and helping lead the Bulls to an NCAA Tournament berth in 2014. She also won a gold medal with the U.S. team at the 2015 Pan American Games.

After a pair of stints as a college assistant, she served as the Hops’ video coordinator in 2021 before joining the Diamondbacks’ Double-A affiliate in Amarillo, Texas, as a first-base coach.

“People always ask me is this my dream job, and honestly, this never was a dream for me. Because at least in dreams, I feel you can actually achieve it,” Gajownik told KPTV in Portland, Oregon.

“And growing up, this was never done; there weren’t a lot of on-field females in regards to athletic trainers or strength coaches or anything like that. So I never even thought that this was possible. So the fact that it is a reality now shows how much progress there has been made in this field, as well as other professional sports leagues.”

Contact Joey Knight at jknight@tampabay.com. Follow @TBTimes_Bulls.

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