Meet Your Mallards – Chris Gradoville
The Summer of 2006 will mark the second Northwoods League season for Creighton University catcher Chris Gradoville. Last season was spent in Brainerd, one of the smaller cities in the league. This year, Gradoville will play in the NWL’s largest market, Madison.
“I’m an ‘outdoors guy’, so it was fun to play in Brainerd,” said Gradoville, who hit .238 in 29 games with the Blue Thunder last season. “But, I’m looking forward to playing in Madison. When we played there, it was one of the best times I had all summer.”
Gradoville said he was able to take in a little Madison nightlife during the two game series while a member of the Blue Thunder, but he was most impressed with the fans and the stadium. “The atmosphere there was great. It’s how baseball should be.”
Gradoville said he used some connections he had to become a member of the Mallards. “Our pitching coach at Creighton (Travis Wyckoff) coached at Iowa with (Mallards manager) C.J. Thieleke and put a word in for me.”
The Omaha, NE native is enjoying a fine season for the Blue Jays this Spring. As of May 7, Gradoville has started all 40 of Creighton’s games and ranks second on the club with nine homeruns, two behind last season’s NWL Triple Crown winner, Zach Daeges.
He hopes the season in Madison can prepare him for the next step in his career. Gradoville is draft eligible and has heard from some scouts. “I want to work on hitting with a wood bat and get used to playing every night, like the pros.”