BY ED WRIGHT
April 7, 2010, 6:05 p.m.
Like the legendary New York Yankees' teams of the 1960s, Plymouth's baseball team will be spearheaded by the M&M boys.
Mike Nadratowski and Matt Priebe may not possess the skills of Mantle and Maris, but their hitting prowess will give opposing Kensington Lakes Activities Association pitchers fits.
Nadratowski, a junior who hits from the left side of the plate, is a second-year starter, while the right-hand-hitting Priebe has been launching bombs for four springs now on the Wildcats' varsity squad.
"Mike and Matt are going to be the heart of our order," said first-year coach Bryan Boyd. "As they go, so will our offense."
The Wildcats' roster is not deep when it comes to returning contributors, but that doesn't mean they won't post wins with regularity, Boyd said.
"With intensity in practice, consistency will come," said Boyd, a long-time youth and high school junior varsity coach in the Plymouth-Canton area. "This team is young, but it has the potential to be good if they buy in and work hard every day."
The Wildcats also possess an intangible that every coach covets.
"Our team's grade-point average is 3.4, so they're smart," said Boyd. "We have multiple honor students and National Honor Society members."
The Wildcats' pitching rotation is still a work in progress for the most part, but the first two slots are solidified with Nadratowski, a southpaw, and junior Harrison Michels.
"Mike is going to get the ball in big games," Boyd assured. "Harrison has worked hard all winter to put himself in position to be our number two starter."
Juniors Ryan Nick and Zach Yokum; and senior Andy Dodge are competing for the final two rotation spots.
Anchoring the bullpen will be a trio of seniors: Jackson Burdette, Priebe and Erik Lee.
"All three relievers are big, strong guys who we hope can come in for an inning or two and be lights out," said Boyd.
The Wildcats' catching duties will be handled by sophomore Rich Gugliemi and junior Phil Emminger.
"Catching is going to be one of our strengths," said Boyd. "Both of these guys could start for a lot of teams in the area."
Three of the four infield spots are filled with Priebe at first, Jimmy May at second and Ben Wohl at shortstop.
"Jimmy and Ben are very passionate about playing the game," said Boyd.
The hot corner is still hotly contested. In the running are seniors Kevin Lozier and Dodge; and juniors Yokum and Nick.
Nadratowski and Michels will be key members of the outfield, as will Emminger when he's not catching. Adding depth will be juniors Chase Zebari, Jeff Heuer and Jake Beauchamp.
"Emminger is going to lead off for us," said Boyd. "He's been stinging the ball this spring. Jimmy May will bat second; he's the perfect two hitter. He makes contact every time and hits line drives all over the diamond."
Nadratowski and Priebe will hit three and four, respectively. The rest of the starting line-up -- at least early on -- will include Tyler Goble,, Gugliemi, Burdette and Lozier.
"Tyler plays hard all the time," said Boyd. "Rich has a smooth stroke with the bat, Jackson will DH a lot for us and Kevin has shown a lot of promise this spring at the plate.
"Phil Emminger is our energy guy. He is very passionate about playing the game and about everything he does in life. Phil and Tyler Goble keep the other guys up and moving in the same direction."
Ed Wright can be reached at (734) 453-1980 or email@example.com.