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Former DHS star signs pro deal

by Chuck Smock

Jonathan Storke will celebrate his 21st birthday on Wednesday, but the party started a week early when the former Douglas High shortstop signed a free-agent professional baseball contract with the Baltimore Orioles.

“This has been my dream since I was a little kid,” Storke said shortly after signing the deal Thursday afternoon. “My idol is (Baltimore shortstop) Cal Ripken. I tried to model myself after him, and now I get to play in the Orioles organization.”

Storke left this morning to join the Orioles’ A league team in the Gulf Coast League in Sarasota, Fla. The A-ball short season started in March and will continue through August. This fall, Storke hopes to be invited to play in a winter instructional league in Florida, Arizona or Puerto Rico.

Storke started at shortstop for two seasons for the Tigers, before graduating in 1996.

He went on to Cuesta Junior College in San Luis Obispo, Calif., where he earned all-Western State Conference honors at shortstop as well as being named to the conference all-academic team.

Storke then played one season at Pima Community College in Tucson, Ariz., and was voted to the all-Arizona JC team at shortstop.

He received a full-ride scholarship to play at Fresno State this past season. He was redshirted as a junior, but still managed to land a professional contract.

Storke said his family and friends played a huge role in helping him accomplish his dream.

“I want to thank my parents (Gary and Saundra Storke) and my girlfriend (Kelly Mulligan) for being behind me all the time,” he said. “And I’d like to thank Luis Silveira for everything he’s done for me.”

Luis Silveira is a scout for the Orioles and the father of Douglas High pitching coach Larry Silveira.