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LAKELAND, Fla. — When former Southeastern University pitcher John Jaeger finished signing his professional baseball contract, he made history for the program.
Jaeger’s signing marks the sixth-straight season an SEU baseball player has signed to continue their career at the pro level.
The Tracy, California native inked a deal with the Windy City Thunderbolts of the Frontier League.
“I’m truly blessed for getting an opportunity like this,” said Jaeger of joining the Crestwood, Illinois-based program. “It’s been my life goal to be able to play baseball at a higher level and get paid. It goes along with the saying, ‘if you love your job so much, you will never have to work a day in your life.’”
Jaeger was named Honorable Mention NAIA All-America, posting 11 saves in 27 appearances and sporting a 2-1 record and a 2.36 ERA. In 42 innings pitched, Jaeger held opponents to a .230 batting average, and just seven extra-base hits in 182 batters faced. He struck out 50 against 15 walks.
He will join a bullpen that has another former Fire closer in 2013 grad, Tyler Murphy.
The teams in the Frontier League are not affiliated with Major League organizations, however, any MLB team can sign a player from the league and put them into their own system.
“This league is one of the best out there,” said Jaeger of the Frontier. “Every hitter throughout the lineup can hit. I have to sharpen my focus from the beginning to the end of my outing.”
Along with Murphy, 2015 alum Willi Martin is in the league with Southern Illinois.