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Blue Anchors’ outfielder Jordan Lee takes a cut at a pitch during a game against Mankato on Friday night. (Blaze Fugina/Echo Press)

Lee, Thome enjoy all-star experience

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Being selected to an all-star game in one of the top competitive summer collegiate baseball leagues in the nation is no small feat.

So it is not tough to imagine the level of excitement that Blue Anchors’ pitcher Andrew Thome and outfielder Jordan Lee had when they were selected for the Northwoods’ League All-Star game. Both players had the opportunity to play for the North Division team in a 3-0 loss to the South Division on July 22 in Mequon, Wisconsin.

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Blue Anchors manager Al Newman said the Northwoods League All-Star game is a great opportunity for players to get some recognition by major league scouts.

“It’s always good when young men show enough to be acknowledged by the league and their peers,” Newman said. “They got to ride down with about three teams – St. Cloud, Willmar and our guys – and they got to bond as young players. Who knows what the future holds for all the young men who played in the all-star game.”

ANDREW THOME

Thome was selected to the all-star team after a first half where he pitched to a 2-0 record with a 2.32 ERA, 32 strikeouts and 22 walks in 38 2/3 innings pitched

Thome, a junior at UND and a native of St. Cloud, said he was happy to achieve a personal goal of making the all-star team.

“It was really cool to see my name on the list when they announced it,” Thome said. “And just being there with all the guys was a huge accomplishment, personally.”

Thome did not have his best stuff on the mound in the all-star game. He ended up taking the loss after allowing a three-run home run in the game.

“You want to go out there and show off your best stuff, and unfortunately I didn’t have it,” Thome said. “But it was the all-star game; you’re there for a reason – your accomplishments in the past and working hard. So that was good.”

As of Monday, Thome is 2-1 with a 2.95 ERA in 42.2 innings pitched. He has picked up a total of 35 strikeouts and allowed 28 walks.

At first glance, Thome’s numbers appear to be much better in the Northwoods League this year than in college baseball. In his 2014 season with UND, Thome finished with a 2-7 record and a 5.61 ERA. But Thome said this streak of strong pitching began toward the end of his season at UND.

‘’I think with four starts left in UND, I kind of figured something out or got in midseason form, as they say in the big leagues,” Thome said.

JORDAN LEE

Lee was excited to learn he was selected for the all-star team, but the way he received his message was less than typical.

While on a road trip with the team, Lee received a text message from a Texas-Corpus Christi teammate who informed him that he was selected to the North Division team.

“We were in Rochester, and one of my buddies that plays on my college team he texted me and said, ‘Hey, I saw you made the all-star game,’” Lee said. “I didn’t even know I made the all-star team, I have just been playing hard.”

Lee went 0-for-2 in the game with one strikeout. He made good contact with one line-drive in the game, but said the eventual all-star MVP Pete Alonso made a great play on the ball at first base to retire him.

Lee said the game will be something he remembers for the rest of his life.

“It was a blast at the all-star game; all the guys were really great,” Lee said. “But the pitching was definitely overpowering to the hitting.”

Both Lee and Thome said the game was a great opportunity to meet players from other Northwoods League teams. Both all-star teams stayed in the same hotel during the game’s festivities.

“Everybody on our team we play against, it was finally nice to put the personalities to the people that you played against the whole summer,” Lee said.

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Blaze Fugina
Blaze Fugina is the sports editor at the Pierce County Herald. Before working at the Herald, Blaze was a sports reporter at the Alexandria Echo Press for one year and 10 months. He graduated from the University of Wisconsin-River Falls in May of 2011. You can follow Blaze on Twitter at @BlazeFugina.
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