Blanchard said people thought he was crazy for playing Bradley on the varsity team at such a young age, but that move has paid off in spades for the Bulldogs.
From playing shortstop and pitching to catching and hitting, Bradley has proven very versatile throughout his career. And while his high school playing days will soon be over, Bradley has now assured himself that his career will continue in college.
Bradley signed a scholarship with Calhoun College of Decatur at the Piedmont High School gym on Wednesday. He's expected to play at shortstop for head coach Mike Burns and the Warhawks.
"I'm real excited," Bradley said. "Ever since I was a little kid, I wanted to play at the next level. It's just a dream come true."
Adding to that dream come true for Bradley is the opportunity to continue playing his favorite position.
"I've always wanted to play shortstop," he said. "You've got a lot of action at shortstop. You've got to be quick on your feet and have a good arm."
Bradley's quick feet and good arm are some of the tools that helped the Bulldogs finish as Class 3A state runners-up last season. Bradley batted .415 with 13 doubles, six home runs, a triple, 16 stolen bases, nine walks, 41 runs and 27 RBIs last season for the Bulldogs (29-11-1).
"Cade is one of those guys that I knew would help us make a run at a state championship," Blanchard said. "I pitched him when he was in eighth grade, back when people thought I was crazy pitching eighth graders against 4 and 5A schools. I knew he was going to be special. I tried to get him some work when he was young because I knew this (signing) day was going to come. I'm proud he's signing with Calhoun."
Blanchard said Burns has kept with Bradley for a while. He said Bradley signing with Calhoun is a good fit.
"It's a real good program," Blanchard said. "Coach Burns has been talking to me about Cade from the start of last year. He stuck with Cade, and that's what I like about it. That's why I really pushed for Cade to go there."
Burns said Bradley has "the talent we were looking for."
"He's definitely an athlete who can step in and play right away," Burns said. "I'm expecting Cade to come in next year and fulfill our needs at shortstop. He's quite a kid.
"The first time I saw Cade was a couple of years ago, and he just stood out. It was at the Alabama Coaches Association event in Troy. He could run. He could hit. He could field, and he's just a good kid. At Calhoun, we're all about class, character and commitment, and I know he'll be able to fit in real quickly with that."