East Grand Forks' Jake Hjelle signs with Fargo-Moorhead Redhawks

May 14—GRAND FORKS — Minnesota Crookston baseball coach Steve Gust's nine-year run with the Hjelle boys — Jake and Reed — is over.

"They're good people," Gust said. "Hard working. Loyal. It's just a great family to have in our program. They basically built the program. Without them, we wouldn't be where we are today."

Now, Jake Hjelle, an East Grand Forks native, will try his hand to impact another organization. This time, it's in professional baseball.

The Fargo-Moorhead Redhawks of the American Association have signed Hjelle, who was dressed for Monday night's game in Fargo against the Kansas City Monarchs.

"Jake is a five-tool player," Gust said. "He was battling injuries this past spring, but the kid can flat-out play the game. He has good size and speed. He can do it all on the field."

Hjelle was a two-time All-NSIC First Team pick at UMC. He is the most decorated Golden Eagle in program history — a 2023 unanimous All-American, the 2023 NCBWA National Player of the Year, the 2023 D2CCA Regional Player of the Year and 2023 NCBWA Regional Player of the Year.

He was the 2023 NSIC Player of the Year. Hjelle was a career .341 hitter, with 188 runs scored, a school-record 61 home runs and 207 RBIs.

Hjelle will be teammates with former Golden Eagle teammate Jake Dykhoff on the Fargo-Moorhead Redhawks. Dykhoff is in his second season with the Redhawks. He has three innings pitched out of the bullpen in 2024.

"This has been a goal of his for his whole life, so this is a great first step as far as pro baseball," Gust said. "(Redhawks) is good baseball. (Redhawks coach) Chris Coste will take care of him. If he's good enough, he'll move on. I wouldn't bet against him. He can hit it a long ways. He has a passion and desire for it, too, and that's tough to measure. He has the physical tools and the desire. That's a good combination."

Hjelle is the eighth former Golden Eagle to play professional baseball. He joins Zach Seipel, Matt Dallas, Will Zimmerman, Paul Krebs, Dykhoff, Conner Richardson, Zeke Hass and Cody Pamperin. Seipel and Krebs are the only two to compete in the MLB minor league system, while the other six have played independent professional baseball.

Prior to UMC, Hjelle followed his brother Reed to Crookston, where Reed was an All-American.

Jake was an all-Section 8AA pick in 2017 and 2018. As a junior, he hit .444 in high school and .411 in American Legion. He was Class AA Minnesota all-state in 2019.

As a senior, Hjelle hit .498 in high school and .511 in Legion.