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Chmielewski determined to become household name at the “Duck Pond”

Madison, WI – February 6, 2009. Illinois sophomore right-handed pitcher Nick Chmielewski has signed with the Mallards, giving the team a total six pitchers after the first week of player announcements. Last year for the Illini Chmielewski (pronounced Chim-uh-LEW-skee) went 3-2 in 31.2 innings of work over 15 appearances. He also pitched last summer for the Fayetteville Swampdogs in the Coastal Plains League, throwing 25.2 innings over 17 appearances.

And while he knows he won’t even be the most popular Mallard from his own college when he immediately steps foot in Madison in late May—that honor goes to third-year shortstop Brandon Wikoff—Nick hopes to offer the fans a little excitement of his own in order to make them remember the “guy with the goofy last name.”

“I know that Brandon has already established himself as a fan-favorite, so I’m just going to play the game like I always have and hope that everything works out,” said the 6’2” youngster his teammates call “Chim.”

He’ll get his chance when the Mallards open the season at home on June 1 against the Rochester Honkers. Chmielewski, who consistently throws in the low 90’s, figures to be a major part of Mallards Field Manager C.J. Thieleke’s starting rotation in 2009.

“After pitching in the Coastal Plains League just one summer, Nick already saw improvements during the fall baseball season and we fully expect him to keep moving on that trend through the spring,” said Thieleke.

Much like the team’s connection to Charlotte, the Illini continue to provide the Mallards with franchise players—from 2005 Northwoods League MVP Ryan Rogowski to the first four-year player Mike Rohde (2003-06) to current shortstop Wikoff (2007-09).

“Of course I’m excited to get back to having multiple players from the Illinois program. Associate Head Coach Eric Snider, who actually won 158 games in the NWL with the Waterloo Bucks from 1995-98, has a great feel for this league and our individual needs in particular.”

When asked what he needs to work on this upcoming spring and summer season, Chmielewski is all business.

“I definitely plan on continuing to work on my throwing mechanics on the mound, especially in trying to improve my delivery and overall command,” said Chmielewski.

“Brandon and (former Mallard) Joe Bonadonna have nothing but good things to say about playing in Madison for coach Thieleke, so I’m just excited to get up there and start making a name for myself.”

Did you know? Chmielewski had a senior season at Carl Sanburg High School in Orland Park, Illinois that should be made into a movie. Get this: the three-sport star caught 52 passes for 584 yards in the fall; made 46 percent of his three-pointers during the winter; and went on to post a 6-1 record and 0.79 ERA as a member of the Top Tier summer baseball league.