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Published On: February 7th, 2017


(Rochester, Minn.) – The Rochester Honkers announced today that Byron, Minnesota native Ryan Thompson, a freshman pitcher at University of Illinois, will play for the Honkers this summer. The 6-foot-3, 200-pound right-hander was ranked the No. 52 freshman in the Big Ten during the preseason.

“Ryan is a hard working kid with a lot of upside,” said Illinois Assistant Coach Drew Dickinson. “He will definitely be a key contributor for the Honkers this summer.”

Thompson played the last two summers for the Minnesota Blizzard, a nationally recognized youth program. He finished his Blizzard career 10-1 with 135 strikeouts in 112 innings.

“He was one of the best Minnesota Blizzard pitchers we have ever had and there are going to be bigger things to come from him,” said Adam Barta, Head Coach of the Blizzard. “The Honkers are lucky to have him!”

Thompson graduated from Byron High School in 2016 where he earned three letters in baseball, five in wrestling and three in football.   He finished his high school career with a 2.50 ERA, with 83 strikeouts in 47 2/3 innings. Thompson was a two time all-conference selection, participant in the 2016 Minnesota All-Star Series and was team captain his senior year.

Illinois opens up their 2017 season on Friday, February 17 when they travel to Beaumont, Texas for the Cardinal Classic hosted by Lamar University.  Illinois will play Milwaukee on Friday, Milwaukee and Lamar on Saturday, and finish with Lamar on Sunday.

The Rochester Honkers 24th season begins on Tuesday, May 30th when the team hosts the Mankato MoonDogs in their home opener at Mayo Field at 7:05 pm. Season Tickets, Suites and Patios are now available. Call the Rochester Honkers office at 507-289-1170 for more information.  The Honkers are also looking for host families for the 2017 season and ask all interested parties to call the business office for more information.


The Northwoods League is the proven leader in the development of elite college baseball players. The 24-year old summer collegiate league is the largest organized baseball league in the world with 20 teams, drawing significantly more fans, in a friendly ballpark experience, than any league of its kind. A valuable training ground for coaches, umpires and front office staff, more than 160 Northwoods League players have advanced to Major League Baseball, including two-time Cy Young Award winner Max Scherzer (WAS), two-time World Series Champion Ben Zobrist (CHC) and MLB All-Stars Chris Sale (CWS), Jordan Zimmermann (DET), Curtis Granderson (NYM) and Lucas Duda (NYM). All league games are viewable live via the Northwoods League website. For more information, visit or download the Northwoods League Mobile App on the Apple App Store or on Google Play.