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Tom Mix, Published June 06 2012

Kansas City Royals draft West Fargo's Strahm

WEST FARGO – Matt Strahm has dreamed about playing professional baseball since he was an 8-year-old boy.

The former West Fargo High School standout got one step closer to making that dream a reality on Wednesday when he was drafted by the Kansas City Royals in the 21st round – 643rd overall – of Major League Baseball’s first-year player draft.

Strahm, who has played at Neosho County (Kan.) Community College the past two seasons, found out while tracking the draft at his family’s home in West Fargo.

“It was a big sigh of relief,” Strahm said. “I was waiting for it to happen and when it happened, it was a big weight off my shoulders. It is a dream come true.”

Strahm, a left-handed pitcher, 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 and 129 strikeouts in 99 innings for Neosho County CC.

Strahm also posted 11 complete games and held opposing batters to a .211 batting average. Those stats caught the eye of scouts representing the nearby Royals.

“I expected it,” Strahm said of getting drafted. “I have talked with the Royals quite a bit throughout the year, playing down there in Kansas. I was a guy they liked and I guess I was just sitting around waiting for them to take me.”

Last fall, Strahm signed a letter of intent to play at the University of Nebraska and now has a decision to make: Sign on with the Royals or go play for the Huskers who are coached by former major leaguer and Jamestown, N.D., native Darin Erstad.

“It’s a hard decision I’m still not 100 percent decided on yet,” Strahm said. “I still have to talk with the organization (Royals) and see what their plans are for me. I still have to talk with my family and I’ll talk with coach Erstad and (Neosho County) coach (Steve) Murry.”

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.

“That’s a first for me anyways at West Fargo,” West Fargo baseball head coach Brett Peterson. “He’s worked really hard from his sophomore season in high school to his senior year and then the last two years in college. He’s really earned where he has gotten to right now.”

Strahm doesn’t plan to take much time to determine his next move in his baseball career.

“I hope to make the decision as quickly as possible,” Strahm said. “It’s very exciting right now. I’ll enjoy it for a couple days. The Royals will give me a call and I’m sure we’ll talk a little bit and make a decision from there.”

Other drafted area players include:

E Former Fergus Falls (Minn.) baseball standout Derek Hansen was drafted in the 25th round – 769th overall – by the Oakland Athletics. The right-handed pitcher for Augustana College (S.D.) was 7-4 with 103 strikeouts and a 1.60 ERA in 67Xc innings pitched. He also led the Vikings with a .363 batting average and 37 RBIs.

E Mayville State right-handed pitcher Nick Anderson was drafted 995th overall in the 32nd round by the Milwaukee Brewers. Anderson, who is from Brainerd, Minn., was 2-2 with 40 strikeouts and a 3.27 ERA in 33 innings pitched for the Comets.

Readers can reach Forum reporter

Tom Mix at (701) 241-5562