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Yankees OK Mikolas playing at state

Bradford baseball team opens tourney Tuesday



Updated

BY MIKE LARSEN

mlarsen@kenoshanews.com

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KENOSHA — The second-ranked Bradford baseball team will be at full strength when it takes the field for the WIAA Division-1 State Tournament Tuesday at Fox Cities Stadium in Grand Chute.

Star outfielder Nathan Mikolas has been cleared to play after sitting out Tuesday’s sectional at the New York Yankees’ request. The 6-foot-1, 195-pound Mikolas was the Yankees’ third-round selection (No. 124 overall) in Tuesday’s Major League Baseball First Year Player Draft.

Mikolas and the Yankees met until late Friday night.

“I’m going to be able to play at state,” Mikolas said. “A Yankees guy is going to be there watching every move. They just said, ‘to play smart.’ I’m thrilled.”

Waiting to sign

Mikolas is looking at a hefty signing bonus when he officially forgoes his commitment to the University of Louisville and signs with New York. The Yankees have $378,000 budgeted for their third-round signing bonus, according to Baseball America.

To maintain his amateur status for the entirety of the postseason, Mikolas won’t sign until after the state tournament is completed.

Bradford opens against Bay Port in an 8 a.m. quarterfinal.

“(The Yankees) were totally fine with (me playing) now,” Mikolas said. “They said we’ll worry about it, if the slim chance of an injury happens.”

Because he hasn’t signed, his bonus money or spot with the Yankees technically isn’t guaranteed. But after hammering out the details of his ability to play next week, Mikolas is confident in the Yankees’ commitment to him.

“I know I’m going to be playing for the Yankees soon, but playing in high school only happens one time,” Mikolas said. “I want to finish out my high school career good. So, hopefully we can make a run for state.”

Mikolas is hitting .515 with six home runs and 23 RBI.

Honored and blessed

Just to have the opportunity to play for the Bronx Bombers is a dream come true for Mikolas. He says when he’s in town, he roots for Milwaukee, but has been a Yankees fan “all my life.”

“I’m truly honored and blessed for the opportunity,” Mikolas said. “I can’t wait to start playing (for the Yankees).”

Citing Alex Rodriguez, Derek Jeter and Robinson Cano’s “amazing swing” among his favorite things about the Yankees, Mikolas said it’s the team’s consistent commitment to championships (27 world titles), that grabbed his support.

“Everybody always plays a full season, but if you’re a New York Yankee, you’ve got to remember that you’re always going to play a second season in October,” Mikolas said. “For them to make it to the World Series numerous times is just remarkable.”

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