Stevie Bajenski – A Player That Always Wanted to Get Better
Steven Bajenski was always striving to improve. He recognized that in order to succeed at baseball at its highest levels, you needed to have solid fundamentals, execute all small details well, and outwork everyone.
This tournament honors Stevie Smith, a Mount Carmel senior and Mokena native who died from complications related to heart surgery in 2009. Proceeds raised go toward supporting the Do it Stevie’s Way 219 Foundation.
Early Life and Education
Steven Michael Bajenski was born with an abnormal aortic valve that required open heart surgery at 10 weeks of age. Although suffering through his condition was difficult, Steven persevered in order to make a difference and would prove himself an integral member of society throughout his life.
Growing up in Mokena, he played local baseball for the Mokena Thunder and travel ball with Lincoln Way Blue Demons. Although undersized compared to others on his team, he realized if he wanted to succeed at playing at higher levels he must focus on fundamentally sound baseball with every aspect covered efficiently, including doing all the little tasks well while outworking everyone on the field. When diagnosed with narrowing of valve, his character was put through further trials when both basketball and football had to be put aside due to restrictions placed upon him due to physical limitations due to narrowing of valve.
Stevie Bajenski was an exceptional baseball player, constantly learning and improving each day. With an undersized stature but big-hearted mentality that allowed for smart decision-making on the field, Stevie made up for it through sheer intelligence & hard work – an easy coach.
Stevie, known to many for his courage and inspirational presence, passed away following complications arising from heart surgery at age 17. His legacy lives on through the annual Do It Stevie’s Way tournament held each year in his name.
Vrdolyak Law Group is honored to sponsor the 1st Annual Steven Bajenski Memorial Tournament, an event to remember a brave Mount Carmel High School and Illinois Sparks baseball player who succumbed at age 17 due to complications related to congenital heart defect complications. Proceeds raised from this tournament go towards Do It Stevie’s Way 219 Foundation which supports academic scholarships as well as Ronald McDonald House Charities.
Achievement and Honors
The Do It Stevie’s Way Tournament is a high school baseball tradition created to remember Steven Bajenski, who died due to complications associated with heart surgery at just 17 years old. Sponsored by Vrdolyak Law Group and benefiting the Do It Stevie’s Way Foundation which awards scholarships to student athletes who exemplify his qualities on and off of the field, this tournament serves as a tribute to him and will continue to honor him each year.
Stevie was an outstanding leader both academically and athletically at Mount Carmel. When diagnosed with an aortic valve narrowing that caused him to cease playing football and basketball, his character was put under scrutiny at an early age. Instead of crumbling under this burden he persevered both academically and athletically by pushing himself – his work ethic was contagious!
Steve was born with an abnormal aortic valve which required open heart surgery at only 10 weeks of age. Growing up in Mokena he played baseball both locally with Mokena Thunder and travel ball for Lincoln Way Blue Demons; early on he learned that being smaller requires having big brains; therefore being an excellent student of baseball, easy coachable and eager to learn was his motto!
Stevie’s character was put to the test again when his valve began narrowing and he was advised that playing basketball and football would no longer be an option for him. Instead of dwelling on his misfortune and feeling sorry for himself, he took advantage of the situation to excel even more at what he loved best: baseball.