Bradshaw moves on to Nevada
Michael Bradshaw patiently waited for his time to come and it finally did this past baseball season for Linn-Benton Community College.
His reward? The former North Medford High pitcher is now moving on to the Division I level after reaching a scholarship agreement recently with the University of Nevada.
"Every baseball player's dream when they're a kid is to play Division I baseball so that's pretty exciting," Bradshaw, 20, said of his move.
The lanky right-hander was unquestionably the staff ace for Linn-Benton this past season, sporting a 5-3 record and 1.92 ERA. In 701/3 innings pitched, Bradshaw struck out 41 and walked 19 during his sophomore campaign.
"Michael Bradshaw had an outstanding two years here at Linn-Benton Community College," said head coach Greg Hawk. "He grew and matured and finally got the innings that he needed as our No. 1 guy this year."
"He's got a lot of upside to his game and I just think he's going to be a really solid contributor to where he's going at the University of Nevada," added Hawk. "We appreciated him coming and being part of our program. He's ready to go."
Bradshaw's initial season at Linn-Benton found him behind a staff that included nine sophomore pitchers. He gradually made his way into the lineup as a relief pitcher and then cracked the starting rotation toward the end of his freshman season. Realizing much would be expected of him in his second go-round, Bradshaw worked hard in the offseason to gain strength on his 6-foot-3, 175-pound frame and that paid big dividends in the spring.
"My fastball picked up in velocity a little bit and that helped," he said. "I've always kind of been a spot-up guy and I really felt like I could throw all three of my pitches anytime and any count. That really kept teams off balance and I was also able to keep the ball down."
That recipe for success earned Bradshaw a first-team spot on the Northwest Athletic Association of Community Colleges (NWAACC) Southern Region squad. It also gained the attention of Nevada coaches, already familiar with the programs Bradshaw had developed under at North Medford and with the American Legion Medford Mustangs.
"I think everything kinda matched up and they saw a first-team all-league guy who had good size and can contribute and gave him a good option," said Hawk. "Without a doubt he was deserving and earned all those innings he threw. He was super for us and whenever he was on the mound we had a chance to win. He was just solid and consistent for us."
If anything, Hawk said Bradshaw's numbers should have been even more impressive than they already were this past season.
"We didn't give him a whole lot of run support," said Hawk. "He could've easily been something like 7-1 if we would've scored him any runs at all. You'd get him to the eighth and ninth inning and there was not a run up there sometimes to help him out."
Through it all, however, Bradshaw remained patient — something he knows a lot about after not being able to pitch for five years in his youth thanks to an elbow injury. He finally was able to crack a loaded North Medford pitching rotation as a senior after working hard alongside good friends Bradey Shipley and Matt Maurer.
It's that relationship with Shipley that likely also helped pave the way at Nevada, where Shipley just wrapped up a sophomore season where he was named the Western Athletic Conference pitcher of the year.
"I'm excited about the fact that Bradey's down there (at Nevada) and can show me around down there," said Bradshaw. "He's been one of my best friends all the way up so that's always nice to have someone there I already know."
The Wolfpack finished 32-25 in the spring and were 11-7 in WAC play. Where Bradshaw will fit in as an incoming junior hasn't been determined, but he's eager to do whatever he can to help.
"They have a few openings in their pitching rotation so basically I just need to get down there and prove myself and work my way into a spot, whether it be a starter or relief, I'm not sure yet," said Bradshaw.
Fellow sophomore Cody James, another of Bradshaw's teammates at North, suffered a torn meniscus midway through the spring and Bradshaw said James is now primarily focused on getting his degree at Oregon State. Prior to his unfortunate injury, James was hitting .252 with 17 runs scored and 15 RBIs for Linn-Benton, which offers a dual-enrollment program with OSU.
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