From a Minor Town to the Minor Leagues 

Abigail Lamour and Destiny Sheppard

Professional baseball pitcher Anthony J. Veneziano (left), a 2016 graduate of Warren Hills Regional High School, meets with Warren Hills English and Journalism teacher Andy Oakley after a June 29 Quad Cities River Bandits home game at Modern Woodmen Park (right) in Davenport, Iowa.

Veneziano is with a High-A Minor League affiliate team and was the first pitcher this year in the Kansas City Royals’ Minor League system to reach 100 strikeouts. He and his team finished their 2021 season Sept. 26 by winning their first-ever High-A Minor League Championship. Veneziano finished the year with a record of 6 wins and 4 losses in 22 games, with an earned run average of 3.75. He has been playing college and professional baseball since 2017. After graduating from Warren Hills, he attended Coastal Carolina University before the Kansas City Royals drafted him. This left-handed pitcher, who is No. 49 for the River Bandits, can throw a fastball at close to 100 mph.

When mentioning his future, Veneziano stated that he hopes to progress to the Royals’ AA Northwest Arkansas minor-league team by the 2022 season and AAA Omaha in 2023. Omaha would be the last stop before joining Major League Baseball’s Kansas City Royals. Veneziano also mentioned having an interest in coaching.

“The coaches here [at the Quad Cities River Bandits] have been great in helping me with my progress,” he said. “Coaching is something that I’ve wanted to do, and the coaches here make me realize that coaching is where I hope to end up someday.”

Veneziano said he was happy to hear that his alma mater, Warren Hills, has returned to in-person education.

“I’m glad that Warren Hills is back to full-time school [after the pandemic],” he said. “In baseball, one-on-one contact with teammates and coaches is incredibly important. It’s the same way with school. You need that one-on-one time with teachers.”

The Quad Cities are located within the heart of the Midwest, split between Iowa and Illinois. The cities of Davenport, Bettendorf, Rock Island and Moline make up the metropolitan area, and are represented within the Minor Leagues by the River Bandits team. Oakley, who is a native of Illinois, swung by the June 29 River Bandits game with his wife while visiting family over the summer in order to show Warren Hills support for Veneziano and his team.