Top LHP Wollersheim transfers schools; recovers from Tommy John surgery

By Steve Nielsen
Scouting Director

Connor Wollersheim was the No.1 prospect in the Class of 2015 when the initial rankings were released in December, 2012. After a successful sophomore campaign at Neenah HS, in which he carried the team to a sectional championship, Wollersheim noticed something wasn’t right after the last pitch he threw to beat Kimberly in the sectional final.

“I just knew my elbow had given out,”said Wollersheim.

The lanky 6-foot-2, 160-pound left-hander had battled through some shoulder issues earlier in the spring, but his elbow pain he wasn’t going to be able to overcome. After several doctor visits and MRIs, Wollersheim had to get Tommy John (UCL reconstruction) surgery on July 17.

Wollersheim went 6-1 on the year, working 58 innings pitched over a seven-week weather-shortened season, handling over 29 percent of the team’s workload on the mound, according to the team’s official GameChanger statistics. He was asked to shoulder even more responsibility in the playoffs, making an appearance in each of the Rockets’ four playoff games. Wollersheim pitched 15 2/3 innings in a 12-day span, recording three victories and a berth in the state tournament.

Wollersheim’s year-long recovery process won’t allow him to pitch any innings next spring. And when he does come back, it won’t be at Neenah HS.

Wollersheim has officially transferred to perennially strong Appleton North HS, where he will be a huge addition to the Lightning come his senior year. He will join Alex Henwood, who is the No. 4 prospect in the state and recent Nebraska commit, giving the Lightning two formidable Division 1 recruits in their 2015 class.

 “After knowing I was going to have to sit out the year with my surgery, it seemed like the perfect time to make a change,” said Wollersheim.

WIAA rules prohibit players from transferring schools without sitting out a year from sports. Wollersheim will be allowed to practice with the team but cannot participate in any game until his senior year.

The process wasn’t easy for Wollersheim and his family, as they had to make written appeals to both schools in order for the transfer to go through. The process was made even longer when Appleton North initially denied the Wollersheims’ request, but after the 16-year-old wrote his own letter to plead his case, it finally went through just in time of the start of the school year.

Wollersheim got his brace off a week ago and is back to a full range of motion in his left arm. He said he is excited about the opportunities ahead of him at Appleton North.

Despite the surgery, Wollersheim should still be one of the more coveted left-handed prospects in the 2015 class.

“I am still talking to all of the schools that were recruiting me before the surgery,” he said. “In fact, I’ve even heard from some new ones as well.”

Wollersheim said he hopes to make his first competitive pitches sometime in late summer of 2014, and should be primed and ready to make a big impact for Appleton North in their 2015 campaign.

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