A 7-6 loss on March 29 at the home of Gateway Athletic Central Conference foe Fort Zumwalt North seemed to turn the Holt Indians from finger-pointing to high-fiving during the early part of the 2017 baseball season.
“We were sitting at 3-4 going ‘really? Wow!’ We really felt we were going to be much better than that,” said Holt coach Joel Adam. “But since then, these guys have shown up every day and competed.”
The Indians have been hitting on all cylinders lately, thanks to big seasons from their top bats: junior pitcher/first baseman Cody Hacker and junior middle infielder Matt Hart. Heading into next week’s district playoffs, Hacker is hitting .444 and Hart, who is just 5-7, 130 pounds is doing his thing at the plate as well, hitting .349.
“Matt Hart is just a solid kid that shows up every day and is very serious about his trade,” Adam said. “He really works at it.”
For his part, Hart said, “I just try to not pull everything and hit the ball up the middle or the opposite way and hit it hard.”
Adam described Hacker as “a top-end guy, whether it’s pitching or hitting.”
“Hacker’s always been one of those guys that you knew when he came up that he’s a competitor,” Adam said.
Hacker said, “At the plate, I don’t really view myself a power hitter, I’ve always considered myself a contact hitter. So, I’ll just try to do the best I can to help my team out.”
Hacker, along with Nick Schmidt and Jacob Thompson, leads the Indians’ pitching staff in wins and Hacker has been virtually unhittable, with an ERA under one run per game.
Clinching the conference title was a major achievement that the club had on its to-do list this spring.
“Winning conference was our goal this year, as every year, but winning this year was a little more special because the seniors are going to be gone and we wanted to do it for the seniors,” Hacker said.
Next up is a hopefully deep postseason run. District playoff play begins in earnest the week of May 15. Hacker believes the Indians have the pieces in place to go far in the playoffs.
“We don’t have the most overpowering guys but [as a team] we are close, with good chemistry and I feel that could beat talent any day,” Hacker said.