Jimmies pitcher Kreis drafted by WashingtonJAMESTOWN — After a couple of restless nights, Alex Kreis should sleep well now.
By: Dave Selvig, Forum Communications Co.
JAMESTOWN — After a couple of restless nights, Alex Kreis should sleep well now.
The Jamestown College pitcher became the first-ever player from the Dakota Athletic Conference to be drafted on Wednesday, when the Grand Forks native was selected in the 35th round of the Major League Baseball draft by the Washington Nationals.
Kreis, the two-time DAC Pitcher of the Year, also is the first Jimmie to be drafted.
“The last couple of nights, sleep has been few and far between,” said the always quotable Kreis. “I think I maybe got to sleep about 4 a.m. both nights, but now it’s over and we can turn the page to what’s next.”
Kreis and Jimmie head baseball coach Tom Hager were both cautiously optimistic he would eventually get the call. It came shortly after the third and final day of the draft began on Wednesday morning.
After spending most of Tuesday watching the picks come and go on his computer, without seeing his name, he wasn’t about to suffer through that again.
“(Tuesday) was pretty emotional and stressful. It was anxiety-filled. It was frustrating, but it’s a situation I didn’t have a lot of control over,” he said. “(Wednesday) morning I wasn’t watching it. I was going to turn it on eventually, but then my agent called me and gave me the news, and a little while later the Nationals called and that was pretty cool.”
Kreis was the 1,057th overall pick, and was one of three North Dakotans selected. Arizona’s Cole Frenzel of Dickinson was taken by the New York Mets in the seventh round on Tuesday and Fargo South’s David Ernst went to the Chicago Cubs in the 47th round on Wednesday.
Nearly 500 players were drafted after Kreis was picked by the Nationals.
Kreis went 21-5 in his career at Jamestown College with a career ERA of 3.49. He struck out 217 batters in 209 innings, but it was his assortment of pitches, including a fastball consistently clocked in the low 90s, that drew scouts to Jimmies’ games in recent years. The Nationals, Arizona Diamondbacks and Philadelphia Phillies showed the most interest.
“We were hoping this day would come. It’s a great day for Alex, his family, Jimmie baseball and baseball in North Dakota in general,” Hager said. “It’s something he’s worked very hard for.
“The thing about Alex was that throughout this whole process he always kept the team first. When scouts were around, he was still always concerned about winning a ball game first.”
The coming days will include contract negotiations, but more than anything else Kreis wants to get back on the mound.
“I’ve really missed baseball. I haven’t played since we were in Joliet,” he said of the Jimmies’ trip to Illinois for the NAIA national tournament. “I’m excited and thankful for the opportunity, but now it’s about results and how I perform. Nothing is given to anybody. Now it’s a matter of, ‘OK, you’ve made it this far, now what can you do?’”
One thing is for certain, Hager said.
“Alex is a very intense individual, and when you combine that with the talent he has, anything is possible,” said Hager, from California, where he is recruiting.
The rest of the summer and fall will be full of baseball, but he’s also just 12 credits shy of finishing his degree in business administration and plans to graduate in December.
In a reflective moment, he looked back fondly on his four years at JC, which has seen him go from a lightly-recruited pitcher from Grand Forks Central High School to a Major League draftee.
“It’s definitely an honor and a privilege and I really appreciate everything the coaches and my former teammates did for me at Jamestown College,” he said. “Both on the field and academically it’s been a great experience for me. I feel like it’s really prepared me to take this next step.”
Selvig is the sports editor of The Jamestown Sun, which is owned by Forum Communications Co.