Just seven games into the 2018 baseball season, the Holt Indians are showing they will be a force on the diamond and the Indians appear poised to do a lot of winning.
Holt is off to an impressive 6-1 start heading into the final weekend of March.
The Indians showed their early season mettle recently thanks to claiming the 23rd annual Troy Baseball Classic tournament last weekend at Troy Buchanan High School.
Holt knocked off Timberland 7-5 last Saturday to claim the championship.
“It’s a good one (tournament) to win because it’s so early and you’ve got to play five teams in like six, seven days and you really find out what you’re made of early,” Holt coach Joel Adam said.
Holt defeated Francis Howell North (11-1), 2017 Class 5 finalist Fort Zumwalt West (11-4), lost to Battle (5-3) and defeated CBC (5-3) to reach the championship game against Timberland.
“It’s a good start for us especially playing against teams like Zumwalt West, who took second in state, CBC is going to be a handful, so we had to start the season playing some pretty tough opponents.”
The Troy Baseball Classic title was the second in three seasons for the Indians and the third for Holt since 2005. Winning the always tough 16-team tournament early is a feat that players hope will help the club thrive late in the regular season and in the postseason this spring.
“As a team (winning) it is a very big accomplishment and we’ve been wanting it so bad and we did it more as a family this year,” senior pitcher Cody Hacker said. “This year I think we’re really coming together as a family and figuring out how to work together as a team and i feel like that’s big reason for our success right now. We’re hoping foreshadows down the road into districts.”
Senior outfielder Braeden Mathys, senior outfielder Drew Law, senior catcher Nick Wilke and senior pitcher Jacob Thompson have been pounding the baseball of late.
“Braeden Mathys is leading our team in hitting, Mathys and Wilke both struggled early last year and Drew’s batting average is up, so we’ve got some guys off to nice starts,” Adam said.
Pitching has and defense have also been big keys to the Indians early season good fortune as Hacker, along with seniors Nick Schmidt, and Thompson have combined to win four games on the mound.
Hacker, a lefthander, is off to a 3-0 start, and looks dialed in for a big senior season on the bump. “My biggest thing (this year) is not to try to strike everybody out but to make it hard for them to hit the ball,” Hacker said. “When they do hit the ball, it will be to someone on defense and make them work and I’ve changed my mechanics, so I stay more balanced when I’m driving through the ball to the plate.”
Defensively, the Indians have been dialed in on the field and not giving up big innings during games.
Having 13 seniors on the roster has given the Indians a strong level of trust between the baselines.
“We knew we had a good chance to be competitive this year and we’ve got a bunch of guys that have a chance to play at the next level and the thing I like about these guys is they get their work in,” Adam said.
The biggest challenge facing Holt the rest of the season will be to bring its best effort to the field game after game, regardless of opponent.
“We definitely try to show how dominant we are on the field every game and not play down to anybody,” Hacker said.