SHERBURN - Jon Traetow played an integral role in helping the St. Cloud Technical & Community College Cyclones qualify for an appearance in the National Junior College Athletic Association's Division III national baseball tournament last month.
While the No. 2-ranked Cyclones compiled a 1-2 record during the national tournament May 19-21 at Mike Carter Field in Tyler, Texas, the hard-hitting Traetow went 4-for-9 with a pair of RBIs to draw the attention of scouts from the Northwoods League.
The NJCAA All-American candidate then quickly returned to Minnesota to pack his bats, gloves and spikes before heading for Alexandria, where he signed a two-week contract to play for the Beetles.
GOING DEEP — St. Cloud Technical & Community College slugger Jon Traetow hammers a pitch during regular-season baseball action. Traetow and the Cyclones produced a 1-2 record at the National Junior College Athletic Association Division III national baseball tournament at Mike Carter Field in Tyler, Texas, on May 19-21. (Photo courtesy of Judy Traetow)
"They (Northwoods League teams) don't tell you how long you'll be there, but the contract is a minimum of 10 days and then they re-evaluate you to see if they want to keep you," said Traetow.
The Northwoods League is an invitation-only league that showcases the top collegiate baseball players in the Upper Midwest.
The former Martin County West High School three-sport athletic standout generated a .241 batting average, including a double and a home run, with five RBIs during his eight-game stint with Alexandria, but opted to return home to Sherburn for a much needed respite.
"They (the Beetles) wanted him to stay and continue to play with them this summer, but I think he's exhausted and needs a break from baseball for a while," said David Traetow, Jon's father. "He's played a lot of games during the past couple of months."
While Jon Traetow will likely rejoin the Fox Lake Foxes amateur baseball team later this summer, the NJCAA all-Region 13 selection now must figure out which diamond he will be playing on this fall.
"I'm looking for a place to go next year, but I haven't made a decision yet," Traetow said in reference to the next step in his collegiate baseball career. "Playing in the national tournament was an unbelievable experience - definitely something that I'll remember for the rest of my life.
"As a team, we didn't do as well as we had hoped in the tournament, but I'm still very satisfied with our overall season (36-7 overall record)."
Indeed. Traetow earned all-conference accolades this spring by topping the Cyclones in batting average (.430), home runs (8) and RBIs (47), in addition for tying for the team lead in doubles (20). The smooth-swinging outfielder also connected for three triples, in addition to producing an .818 slugging mark and a .520 on-base percentage.
With impressive statistics like those, Traetow should have numerous offers from collegiate baseball programs waiting on the table.
"I'm keeping my options open at this time. I'd love to continue playing (college) baseball, but I also need to go to a school where my (academic) credits transfer so that I can earn my degree in two years," said Traetow.
Traetow is majoring in mass communications with a public relations specialty.