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Matt Obradovich is not about to re-invent the wheel

There was no secret formula for Matt Obradovich.

The latest in an increasing number of local baseball prospects moving on to post-secondary ranks - the 17 year-old graduate of Lockerby Composite will join the Laurentian Voyageurs in the fall - Obradovich suggested a very tried and true pathway to success.

"I don't consider myself overly athletic, or overly good at just doing things naturally," noted the eldest of two children in the family at an on-line media reception on Friday. "I think hard work gets it done and helps it grow."

"The biggest thing about baseball is that it's really not forgiving. You can't cheat the game. If you don't put in the work, others around you are going to get too fast, too strong. You'll just fall behind."

This was not a realization that came to Obradovich overnight.

"I kind of always knew that if I had the choice to do basebll, it was always going to be baseball," he said. "But when I first joined the (Sudbury Voyageurs) program, I didn't feel confident in my abilities, I didn't feel that I stood up to a lot of the other skill sets around me," he said.

"It wasn't until last year, where I really felt good about myself. I performed well and thought that I could actually do this, beyond high school."

For as much as Voyageurs' program leader Jean-Gilles Larocque has introduced dozens of young athletes to baseball at the next level, this one seemed just a touch more special. "It's been amazing to see him grow in the program as a young man, where he came from and where he is now," said Larocque.

"He is one of those kids who just kept grinding it, believing in himself. It's great to see all of the work payoff for him."

Moving to Sudbury just four years ago, the native of Timmins had enjoyed baseball in the Little League system in his youth, an experience that exposed Obradovich to a similar, though far from identical landscape, on the diamonds, as he attempted to acclimatize himself locally.

"Going from a field that is only a little over 200 feet, that's a massive jump," he said. "It was shocking at first, but then you try and fit in as best as you can. Going into Voyageurs, I almost never played outfield. I moved to the outfield when I joined the Voyageurs, and I think that was a good fit for me."

"I am able to use my speed well in the outfield, and I've got good arm strength."

Offensively, Obradovich would fall far more under the heading of a "contact hitter" than an outfield slugging prodigy. The key, for him, is understanding who he is. "I don't consider myself a power hitter," he said.

"I like to consider myself as a consistent hitter. I think I go up to the plate with a very similar approach, every time, which is just to hit the ball hard and get on base."

It's not a matter, in his mind, of not trying to re-invent the wheel. Matt Obradovich is more than happy to follow a road of success that has been paved by the experience of others.

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