Nadratowski's consistency leads to success for GVSU
Senior outfielder primes the Laker offense
All three words can be used when talking about Grand Valley State’s Mike Nadratowski. The havoc-wreaking leadoff hitter has been a deadly weapon for the Lakers at the top of the lineup.
“He is everything in terms of offensive production and getting the team going. He is the spark at the top of the lineup and it makes life easier for the rest of the team at the bottom and easies the pain for a lot of things that we try to do offensively,” said GVSU head coach Jamie Detillion.
“When he’s going, it is contagious," Detillion said. "It encourages that positive reinforcement when he is on base... he creates chaos by being fast. Even when he’s not stealing bases, the thought (of Nadratowski) is always in the back of the pitcher’s mind.”
The senior outfielder has been a key contributor to the success of the Laker baseball team this season.
Nadratowski is sporting a .331 batting average to go with 13 doubles and two home runs for the Lakers. His speed on the bases has been a problem for opposing pitchers, as the Canton, Mich. native has swiped 16 bases in 18 attempts.
“I have been able to have this success by staying within myself and really trusting what I can do and also by playing to my strengths and doing what is best for the team,” Nadratowski said. “It has helped me in many ways. It is my role to get on base for the heart of the order. If I can get on base it makes their job easier to drive in runs."
“Batting leadoff is different. You want to see pitches early so you can help the heart of the order, but I also don’t want to lose my aggressiveness at the plate," he said. "If it’s a first pitch fastball, I’m going to attack it. My aggressiveness helps send a message to the team and helps get them going.”
Nadratowski’s season has helped to take pressure off the rest of the lineup.
“When he gets on base and gets it going, it helps our team relax and sets the tone for the game,” said senior Jesse Abel. “It always gets in the pitcher’s mind and helps in every aspect of the game hitting-wise. I always get better pitches to hit when he is on, and it also helps with the hit-and-run part of our game.”
Many parts of the Lakers’ game have been functioning well in 2015. GVSU is currently ranked 16th in the National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association (NCBWA) rankings, maintaining a record of 29-15 overall to go with a 20-10 conference tally, good for first place in the GLIAC North.
“It has meant a lot to me having the opportunity to play all four years at GVSU,” Nadratowski said.
Nadratowski and the Lakers are back in action beginning on May 7 as they start GLIAC tournament play in Xenia, Ohio.