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Brock Holmes is the first Brunswick Community College baseball player to be selected to the National Junior College Athletic Association Division II All-America team.
Holmes, in his freshman year, made third-team All-America in Division II. BCC coach Robbie Allen said Holmes deserved the recognition.
“We were concerned about him, where his role was going to be in our rotation,” Allen said. “We were concerned as to whether or not he was even going to be in the rotation or be eligible to play for us.
“He came in and did a great job academically and came in and did a very good job for us on the field.”
Allen said that during preseason some adjustments were made to Holmes’ throwing motion.
“We did correct a few mechanics,” Allen said, “but they were minor little things. It worked out really well.
“The first outing or two he struggled a little bit. After that, he settled right in and went to work and did really well.”
Holmes, a West Brunswick High School graduate, finished 9-2, and the nine victories are a BCC record. He finished with a 2.42 ERA.
“He lost the first two games he started and he didn’t lose another one,” Allen said.
Holmes pitched the most innings of any of the BCC pitchers, 81.2. He struck out 68 and walked 24.
“He developed a knack for keeping you in the game,” Allen said.
Holmes established himself as the ace of the staff during an early season series at Wilkes Community College, Allen said.
“When we went up to Wilkes, it was kind of the turning point for our whole staff,” Allen said. “He set the tone for that (series). The next thing you know (Travis) Bradley did the same, and on Sunday (Ryan) Carr did the same thing. We took three games from them. That was big for us.”
Holmes and first baseman Ben Morris also made the All-Region 10 team. Morris, a sophomore, batted .311 and drove in a team-high 43 runs. He hit a team-record 10 home runs.
Morris’ hitting and Holmes’ pitching helped BCC finished with a season-record 34 victories.
“We had lot of firsts this year,” Allen said.
Another first: Allen was named Region 10 Coach of the Year. But Allen preferred to keep attention on Holmes and the BCC program.
On June 26, Allen had open tryouts for the team, and 23 players showed up.
“Almost too many,” he said.
Allen, a former scout for the Dodgers, eventually invited five of the prospects to join the team in the fall.
“We picked up a couple of pitchers,” he said.
Perhaps by the time they are sophomores, BCC will have its own field. The first phase has neared completion.
“I’m sitting here watching them as they are trying to clear everything off,” Allen said June 28. “They have a couple more piles left.”
“The next immediate step is to try to get enough funds to make sure we can get the field built: put the sod down, put the irrigation down, (build) dugouts.
“We’re pretty much starting cold (financially). The estimate is going to be between $250,000 and $300,000.”
With no true home field—BCC plays its home games at West Brunswick High School—BCC fell one game short of winning its first regular-season title. Allen is proud the Dolphins have become so competitive in the first three years of the program.
“The region is pretty tough,” Allen said. “It is known throughout (the country) for its baseball. Both of the Region X teams—Lenoir Community College, which was the DII representative in the World Series, and Pitt Community College, which was the DI representative in the World Series, came home after two games, and the comments were that’s very unusual for Region X to lose its first two games in the World Series.”
Allen knows what is like to play in the College World Series—30 years ago he was an infielder on the Clemson team that qualified for the NCAA Division I event.
Allen was hurt most of that 1980 season, his junior year, but he played well enough to make second-team All-ACC and played in the regionals. (Allen was All-ACC in 1979.)
“I think the highlight for me was beating South Carolina in front of a full crowd at Clemson to go to the World Series, which was the first time Clemson had ever hosted a regional,” Allen said. “I was able to get a bases-loaded hit to drive in a few runs.”
In the World Series, Allen had another memorable at-bat with the bases loaded, but with a different result.
“I made the last out for our team with bases loaded on a flyball to the warning track,” he said. “I had a couple of hits in the Series, but I remember the flyball to the warning track with two outs, the bases loaded against Cal State Fullerton in the bottom of the ninth inning. We lost by one run.”
Allen was drafted by the Dodgers that June. One of his teammates in his first year in the minor leagues at Lodi, Calif., was the Cal State outfielder who made the catch at the warning track. Allen also would face again “for about four years” the Cal State pitcher who got the final out against him.
“I sit here in my office and look at the plaque I got from Omaha and my regional plaque in front of my desk,” Allen said. “It was a good time, good memories.”
And the same can be said about the 2010 BCC baseball season.
Michael Paul is sports editor at the Beacon. Reach him at 754-6890 or e-mail him at email@example.com.