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Matt Strahm signs with Royals

WEST FARGO - A day after he was selected in the 21st round of the Major League Baseball first-year player draft, West Fargo's Matt Strahm is making the leap to professional baseball.

Strahm, a former standout for the Packers, signed a contract with the Kansas City Royals on Thursday evening at his parents Tim and Linda's West Fargo home.

The left-handed pitcher, who just finished playing two years of collegiate baseball at Neosho County Community College (Kan.), decided against using his two remaining years of eligibility to play at the University of Nebraska and chose professional baseball, a dream of his since he was an 8-year-old boy.

"Neosho prepared me for pro ball," Strahm said after signing his pro contract. "I talked to my parents and I talked with the Neosho coaches. I'm going to take a chance on pro ball and see where it takes me."

Also present were Strahm's brother Ben, sister Britta and his girlfriend.

"It was really exciting," Strahm said. "I had my whole family here and it was exciting to experience it with them."

Strahm won't have much time for his new pro status to set in. He'll be flown to Arizona on Monday to participate in a week-long minicamp where he'll be evaluated by team officials.

From there the Royals will designate him to one of their three short-season rookie ball teams. Kansas City has three rookie-level organizations: The Idaho Falls Chuckars of the Pacific International League, the Burlington Royals (N.C.) of the Appalachian League and the AZL Royals (Ariz.) of the Arizona League.

Strahm helped the Panthers to a 49-16 record and a trip to the Junior College World Series. He was 9-3 with a 1.48 earned run average with 129 strikeouts in 99 innings pitched for Neosho County. Strahm also posted 11 complete games and held opposing batters to a .211 batting average.

"I took a huge leap from freshmen to sophomore year with the coaching at Neosho," Strahm said. "I feel I'm going to have the same opportunity in pro ball and I'm going to go into it with the same mindset that I had when I went to Neosho."

After a solid freshmen season with Neosho County Strahm had signed a letter of intent to play for the Huskers under former major leaguer and Jamestown, N.D., native Darin Erstad.

Strahm said he phoned Nebraska to inform them of his decision.

"It was really tough," Strahm said. "It was one of the toughest phone calls I had to make. I would like to do the same thing Darin Erstad did."

Strahm is the first West Fargo player to get drafted in the MLB since the Packers have been a sanctioned North Dakota Class A program.

Readers can reach Forum reporter

Tom Mix at (701) 241-5562

Tom Mix

Tom Mix is the North Dakota high school sports reporter. He's worked at The Forum for five years. He was the 2013 North Dakota sportswriter of the year, an award that is sponsored by the National Sportscasters and Sportswriters Association. Have a comment to share about a story? Letters to the editor should include author’s name, address and phone number. Generally, letters should be no longer than 250 words. All letters are subject to editing. Send to  

(701) 241-5562