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Amateur Baseball: This Bird Island Bullfrog has an infectious demeanor

Jordan Sagedahl's return to Bird Island has given the team a boost

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Bird Island's Jordan Sagedahl jogs in from right field during a game against the Marshall A's on Wednesday, July 20, 2022, at Lions Memorial Park in Bird Island.
Michael Lyne / West Central Tribune
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BIRD ISLAND — When Jordan Sagedahl arrived in Bismarck for his second season of Northwoods League baseball with the Larks this spring, things did not pan out as he expected.

Sagedahl signed a half-season contract with Bismarck due to burnout he experienced with the team on a full contract in 2021. Many of Sagedahl's teammates had also signed half-season contracts.

As a result, Bismarck head coach and field manager Will Flynt signed more players. Once he rostered enough players, some of the players on half-season contracts were not needed and Sagedahl's contract became temporary.

Sagedahl, a sophomore infielder and catcher at South Dakota State University, played seven games with the Larks before his departure from the team. He had a .111 batting average with three doubles, three runs, three walks and a pair of RBIs.

"It was just a decision I made," Sagedahl said of signing his half-season contract. "I feel like next year if I had another opportunity, I would pursue a full-season contract. But this year just kind of turned that way and it's been working out well, getting to come back home to play."

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The 20-year-old has turned an unfortunate situation into playing amateur baseball for the Bird Island Bullfrogs and working at Grizzly Buildings & Supply in Denube, both near his hometown of Olivia.

Sagedahl previously played for the Bulldogs for two years, as a junior and senior in high school.

"It's been a lot of fun," Sagedahl said. "I took a year off from the team but to come back this summer, it's been an absolute blast."

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Bird Island's Jordan Sagedahl makes contact with the ball in an amateur baseball game against the Marshall A's on Wednesday, July 20, 2022, at Lions Memorial Park in Bird Island.
Michael Lyne / West Central Tribune

Bird Island manager Mike Nagel noted his team always asked him when Sagedahl would make his return.

Earlier in the season, Sagedahl called Nagel on his drive home from Bismarck and asked him, "Where's my uniform?" He was ready to play immediately for the Bullfrogs, not wanting any time off.

"The best part about Jordan Sagedahl isn't his athleticism, it's his humility and commitment to his team," Nagel said. "He's the best teammate. He doesn't care where he plays, he just wants to play."

Bird Island finished second in the Corn Belt League with a 13-3 record, highlighted by an 11-game win streak. The Bullfrogs already have earned a berth in the Region 4C tournament Aug. 3-14 at Spicer. They will be the No. 2 seed from the Corn Belt and will play the No. 3 team from the County Line League at 12:30 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 6.

Sagedahl joined the Bullfrogs on June 24, helping the team win eight of their last nine Corn Belt regular season games, where they outscored their opponents 80-24 over that stretch.

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"He makes everybody else better," Nagel said. "He truly makes everyone else better because of how he goes about doing his job and his demeanor on the field."

As the summer progresses, Sagedahl wants to improve his strikeout ratio. Early on in the spring with the Jackrabbits, he gave away many at-bats.

Sagedahl, listed at 6-foot-2-inches, 190 pounds, started in 34 games with SDSU this spring. He batted .194 with 17 runs, 13 walks, three home runs, a pair of stolen bases and 44 strikeouts.

With the help of Jackrabbits first-year volunteer assistant coach Evan Berliner, Sagedahl changed his approach into a more aggressive one, focusing on pitches early in the count.

"Do damage early in the count," is a phrase Berliner tells Sagedahl.

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Jordan Sagedahl spends time in the dugout, talking with his Bird Island teammates during an amateur baseball game against the Marshall A's on Wednesday, July 20, 2022, at Lions Memorial Park in Bird Island.
Michael Lyne / West Central Tribune

"My approach with [Berliner] has been to not be complacent and not let the pitches come, it's to go get your own pitch," Sagedahl said. "I feel like using that approach toward amateur ball has been good for me."

Before Sagedahl returns to SDSU's campus this fall, he wants to increase his body weight to 200 pounds.

Sagedahl wants to be stronger and feel bigger than he did this past academic school year in hopes of continuing to see playing time with the Jackrabbits.

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"I felt like I had a decent year this past year, but I want to compete at an elite level," Sagedahl said. "I want to get stronger and be able to beat out anyone that would be trying to take my spot and continue to play."

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Michael Lyne joined the West Central Tribune as a sports reporter in May 2022, following his graduation from the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities, where he graduated with a bachelors degree in journalism and a minor degree in Spanish studies.

You may reach Michael at mlyne@wctrib.com, or by calling (320) 214-4345.
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