Two rosters, three future MLB Players at the 2010 NDHSAA Class A baseball state tournament

May 4, 2021 4:00 pm

By Tom Mix
NDHSAA Media Specialist

MANDAN, N.D. – According to the Baseball Almanac there have only been 19 Major League Baseball players born in the state of North Dakota to play at least one big league game in their pro career.

To put into scale there have almost been 20,000 individuals known to make an MLB Debut. So considering there have only been 19 players from the Peace Garden State to make it to the big leagues out of almost 20,000, the next stat shared in this story will be eye-popping.

Three of those 19 North Dakota natives – Matt Strahm (a West Fargo HS graduate) Andy Young (a West Fargo HS graduate) and Jay Flaa (a Mandan HS graduate) – appeared on high school baseball rosters of teams that qualified for the 2010 NDHSAA Class A Baseball State Tournament played Veteran’s Memorial Ballpark in Mandan.

Yep, three eventual big leaguers were all in the same spot at once.

Flaa, who recently made his MLB Debut pitching for the Baltimore Orioles on April 27th striking out all-star Aaron Judge in 1 ⅓ scoreless innings of a 5-1 loss to the New York Yankees, was a senior standout for the Braves in 2010.

Flaa was 1-for-9 at the plate during the three-game tournament, but he made his one hit count – a two-out, bases-loaded, 3 RBI double in the bottom of the sixth inning of the championship game that gave the Braves a four-run cushion heading to the final frame in an eventual 7-5 win over Bismarck Century. Flaa also pitched a complete-game in the semifinals for the Braves striking out six in a 3-1 win over Bismarck High.

The other eventual big leaguers – Strahm then a senior and Young then a sophomore – appeared on the West Fargo High Packers’ roster during the 2010 Class A state tournament.

The Packers lost to Bismarck Century 13-3 in the quarterfinals with Strahm starting on the hill for West Fargo. Strahm struck out six batters and gave up five earned runs in five innings of work. He also knocked in two of the Packers’ three runs going 1-for-3 at the plate.

Strahm and the Packers recovered and ended up taking fifth place with wins over Williston and Grand Forks Red River in consolation play. Strahm was a combined 1-for-5 with two runs scores, two walks and 2 RBIs at the plate during the consolation games.

Young never appeared in a game during the 2010 State Tournament, but his big prep baseball moment would come two years later on the same field.

During the 2012 NDHSAA Class A baseball state championship game, Young was 2-for-3 with a double and run scored in a 2-0 win over Fargo Shanley, but his biggest contribution came pitching in relief during the top of the seventh inning. Young entered the game with the bases loaded and no outs, but the senior struck out the three batters he faced on 11 pitches.

Strahm, now an MLB pitcher, debuted with the Kansas City Royals in 2016. He is now with the San Diego Padres and has yet to pitch in 2021 after undergoing knee surgery in the offseason.

Young, now an MLB infielder/outfielder, debuted with the Arizona Diamondbacks in 2020 and has hit three home runs for the club in 12 games played during the 2021 season.

In the summer of 2010, Flaa, Strahm and Young would appear on the same field during five different Class A American Legion Baseball games (regular and postseason baseball games combined).

As if three future MLB players being at the same state tournament wasn't cool enough, Bismarck Century had a junior infielder on its roster by the name of Carson Wentz. Wentz later played football at North Dakota State and gained national renown as the No. 2 overall pick in the 2016 National Football League Draft by the Philadelphia Eagles. Wentz was traded to the Indianapolis Colts during this past offseason.

In case you are wondering, Wentz was 1-for-4 with an RBI and a stolen base in the championship game during the 2010 NDHSAA Class A baseball state title game against Mandan.

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