Thunder Bay, Ont., – The Thunder Bay Border Cats are pleased to announce that J.M. Kelly has been hired as the team’s new manager for the 2023 Northwoods League season. The 26-year-old native of Buna, Texas, is currently an assistant coach at Texas A&M University-Kingsville and becomes the sixteenth manager in Border Cats history. Kelly also has collegiate coaching experience at Charleston Southern University, Northern Oklahoma-Tonkawa Junior College, and Carl Albert State Junior College. Kelly spent the 2022 summer collegiate season managing in Nebraska, where he guided the North Platte Plainsmen of the Independence League to a 31-21 record and a first-half division title. He also served as an associate scout for the Houston Astros from 2019-2021.

“The Border Cats are very excited to welcome J.M. Kelly to our organization,” stated team vice president Bryan Graham. “J.M. was set to be the Border Cats lead assistant coach had we played this past season and came highly recommended by our previous manager Mike Steed. J.M. is extremely well connected at the collegiate level and since we came to an agreement with him to manage the club near the end of August, we already have over 20 player commitments and we’re confident he will continue to build a solid roster for the 2023 season,” added Graham.

The new skipper is looking forward to the opportunity. “I am thrilled to be able to manage in such a great summer league like the Northwoods League and I’m really looking forward to coming to Thunder Bay and putting a winning product on the field for the Border Cats loyal fans,” said Kelly. “I’m very encouraged how the roster is shaping up and certainly eager to take on the challenge of a 72-game regular season,” added Kelly.

The Border Cats will be unveiling their 2023 schedule, season ticket packages, flex packs and Christmas ticket specials in the coming days.


The Northwoods League is the proven leader in the development of elite college baseball players. Having completed its’ 29th season, the Northwoods League is the largest organized baseball league in the world with 22 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, over 310 Northwoods League players have advanced to Major League Baseball, including three-time All-Star and 2016 Roberto Clemente Award winner Curtis Granderson, three-time Cy Young Award winner and World Series Champion Max Scherzer (NYM), two-time World Series Champions Ben Zobrist and Brandon Crawford (SFG) and World Series Champion Chris Sale (BOS). As well as 2019 Rookie of the Year and 2019/2021 Home Run Derby Champion Pete Alonso (NYM) and 2021 All-Star, MLB Gold Glove winner and 2019 Second Team All-MLB shortstop Marcus Semien (TEX). All league games are viewable live via the Northwoods League website at and on ESPN+. For more information, visit or download the Northwoods League Mobile App on the Apple App Store or on Google Play.