Frontenac senior Bryan Wade signed Thursday afternoon to play baseball at Wisconsin-Parkside, a Division II school.
“I’ve always dreamed of playing college baseball,” Wade said. “I’ve grown up wanting to play and it comes true today.”
Wade, the fourth member of the Frontenac baseball core to sign (following Matt Standlee, Blake Vail and Bryce Burdette), signed with the program coached by former Pittsburg State great and former PSU assistant Daniel Esposito, who took over Parkside last summer.
“Coach Esposito, I got to know him when he was a coach at Pitt State,” Wade said. “When he got the job at Parkside, I followed him up there and took a visit up there. I really liked it and thought it was a good fit for me.”
The Rangers are based in Somers, a town of approximately 10,000 people north of Kenosha.
“It’s right on Lake Michigan,” Wade said. “Milwaukee is 30 minutes north and Chicago is an hour south, so it’s between two major cities.”
By the way, via I-44 East and I-55 North, it’s 658 miles and 9 hours, 59 minutes from Frontenac to Somers.
UW-Parkside plays in the Great Lakes Valley Conference alongside programs like the Indianapolis, Southern Indiana and Quincy.
“We went up and saw them,” Wade said. “We saw Coach Esposito get his first win, so that was cool. I’ve been following them online.”
Frontenac head baseball coach Bill Sullivan evaluated Wade’s potential at the next level.
“I think with Bryan’s work ethic and his determination, he’ll have success,” Sullivan said. “I really believe that he’s not going to let himself have anything other than success. He’s going to work hard to get what he wants.
“He’s all about baseball. He started as a freshman. He split time as a catcher as a freshman. He understands the game and now he takes control of the pitchers. He handles our staff really nicely.”
Sullivan has seen four of his seniors ink with college baseball programs.
“Gosh, it’s a really neat deal,” Sullivan said. “This is the first time for me that we’ve had multiple kids like this. It’s awesome, it’s special to see kids move onto the next level like that. It just makes you happy to see that all the work they’ve put in has paid off.”
The Raiders, who returned all nine starters from last year’s state championship team, were greeted with great expectations this season, probably none higher than those within that dugout.
“It’s gone well,” Wade said. “We could play a little better. We’re still 10-0 but we have half the year left and hopefully more than that, hopefully going on to regionals and to keep it going like we did last year.”
Page 2 of 2 - RANDOM FACTS ABOUT WISCONSIN-PARKSIDE AND KENOSHA
• UW-Parkside was created in July 1968.
• Alums include comedian Frank Caliendo, long-distance runner Kim Merritt (New York Marathon winner) and NASA’s first female flight director, Linda Ham.
• Ranger Bear is the school’s mascot.
• The rock band Weezer provided Kenosha some exposure with its video for “Buddy Holly.” Although Weezer is not from Kenosha or Wisconsin, former “Happy Days” star Al Molinaro decided to plug his hometown of Kenosha with the introduction “Kenosha, Wisconsin’s own Weezer.”