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Matt Strahm pitches for Neosho County Community College during a game his freshman year. Strahm recently signed a contract to play for Major League Baseball's Kansas City Royals. Pioneer file photo

Strahm hits the big time

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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.

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Strahm, a former West Fargo standout, signed a contract with the Kansas City Royals on Thursday 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.

Strahm was flown to Arizona on Monday to participate in a week-long minicamp for evaluation by team officials.

From there, the Royals will designate him to one of their three short-season rookie ball teams: 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. Strahm also posted 11 complete games and held opposing batters to a .211 batting average.

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. He is the first West Fargo player to get drafted in the MLB since the Packers were sanctioned North Dakota Class A program.

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