Reese Gregory went from fishing and swimming with family on Pelican Lake on a Sunday, to signing a contract to play professional baseball for Fargo-Moorhead that night, and playing for the team on Monday.

THE LEGEND

The legend of Reese Gregory began with his three All Central Lakes Conference nominations at Apollo High School. He then went on to St. Cloud State, where he holds the all-time records for career appearances (76), saves (24), lowest ERA (1.52) and single-season records for victories (13), saves (10) and winning percentage (13-0 in 2015).

For good measure, Gregory also set the single-season record for home runs hit, with 21 in 2016.

During his collegiate career, Gregory spent three seasons with the St. Cloud Rox of the Northwoods League. In 2013 he went 3-2 with four saves and appeared in the All Star Game. In 2014, he was 7-2 with a 1.69 ERA and 71 strikeouts, and in 2015 he finished his NWL career with a 6-3 record and 1.46 ERA.

After college, Gregory played two seasons with the River City Rascals of the Frontier League, where he was 11-8 with a save in 2016 and 2017 combined. Since then, Gregory had been helping to coach at Acceleration Sports Center and played for the Beaudreau Saints in amateur baseball.

“He’s going to go down as the all-time, best all-around player to come out of St. Cloud,” SCSU baseball coach Pat Dolan said. “He’s going to be playing amateur baseball until he’s 45 years old.”

THE CALL

Redhawks General Manager Matt Rau said the team was looking for immediate help on Memorial Day weekend, and he was familiar with Gregory after spending time working for Learfield Sports in St. Cloud.

“We were looking for a middle relief/spot start kind of guy,” Rau said. “I texted (SCSU Coach Pat) Dolan and asked what he was up to, because I needed a guy, like, that night.”

“I told him that we have a guy right here in our backyard that’s hitting home runs for Beaudreau’s and he’d come up there in a hearbeat,” Dolan said. “Next thing I know Reese was driving up there Sunday night at got into a game that Monday.”

Gregory was spending time on Pelican Lake as part of his family’s annual Memorial Day weekend fishing retreat when he got the call.  He said that he didn’t necessarily have pro baseball on his mind at this point in the summer and that he was busy looking for jobs when he heard from the RedHawks.

“I was up there, and we were having a great time fishing and swimming,” Gregory said. “Got a text message from Matt asking me if I was interested in throwing a bullpen.

“I drove up that day, went to the field and signed right then and there,” Gregory said.

Gregory began his SCSU career as a relief pitcher after starting at Apollo, and also started his Rox career in the bullpen as well. He says that pitching out of the bullpen will not be anything new.

“I started out in the bullpen with River City, started in the bullpen at SCSU, so I’m not a stranger to bullpen life,” Gregory said.

In four appearances (6.2 innings) with the RedHawks this season, Gregory has allowed just two runs on five hits while striking out four batters. Both of the runs Gregory has allowed this season came on Tuesday night in St. Paul at CHS Field.

THE COMPETITION 

The American Association features a mixture of younger players along with some seasoned veterans. Some players in the league even have experience in Major League Baseball, while others have used the league as a stepping stone to get into affiliated leagues.

“It’s the closest thing to affiliated baseball,” Dolan said. “I’ve heard people say it is equivalent to AA baseball… it’s not rookie ball, there aren’t a lot of guys there that haven’t already played professional baseball at some level.

“If he can put some numbers up in the American Association, there have been major leaguers that have played in that league,” Dolan said. “If you can get guys out at that level, you never know. I wouldn’t put anything past Reese Gregory, let’s put it that way.”

FAMILY PERKS

Another perk of joining the team is having his family just a few hours away from Fargo, and only an hour or two from St. Paul, where Gregory was in town to play against the St. Paul Saints this week.

“My family definitely loves that, whether it’s coming here to CHS Field, or Fargo which is only a couple of hours away,” Gregory said. “They love being able to actually not have to travel eight hours.”

Gregory has been a fixture for the Beaudreau’s Saints amateur team for the past few seasons, and said that his teammates weren’t exactly thrilled initially when he told them of his change in plans.

“At first they were a little bit upset about it,” a laughing Gregory related. “But then they knew this is exactly what I wanted to do.

“Hey, you gotta shoot your shot, right?”