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The Holden baseball team featured five returning starters from last year’s district championship team as senior first-year starters, returning underclassmen, and incoming freshmen combined to put a solid lineup on the field. The season was marked by the start of the process to install all-weather turf on the baseball field with latter home games in the season being played at neutral sites, or changed to away games.
“Hopefully, we can make some strides this year because if we do, I feel we can be a very good team,” said Holden baseball coach Charlie Castle.
The Eagles opened the season at home with a 13-0 win over Sherwood on March 20. Senior starting pitcher, and four-year team member Garrett Smith recorded 12 strikeouts in the win on the mound. Freshman pitcher Wes Brown recorded three strikeouts in relief of Smith.
In a doubleheader against Russellville played at Warrensburg High School on March 25, the Eagles won the second game after falling to the state-ranked Indians in the first contest.
Eagle pitchers Aiden Morarity, Wes Brown, and Lane Siemer combined for a no-hitter in a 1-0 home win over Knob Noster on March 27. Eagles sophomore Trace Angell drove in sophomore Tyler Barker for the one run in the game.
In Holden’s Senior Night game on March 30, the Eagles defeated Lexington for a home conference win by the final score of 11-1. Seniors Carson Gard, Garrett Smith, Bryce Faust, and Eddie Bartkoski all started in the game. Gard, Smith, Faust, Bartkoski, senior team manager Riley Naumann, and senior foreign exchange player Alessio Martinolli were recognized on the night. Smith recorded 10 strikeouts in the win on the mound. “It was senior night,” said senior catcher Gard. “It was all about having fun today.” The game marked the final competition on the natural turf field at Holden High School baseball stadium as the process to install all-weather turf began the following day. “They’ve been through a lot here, so it’s good to see…they didn’t get to play their freshman year which was awful, because of Covid,” said coach Castle. “Now they’re going to get their season on their home field abbreviated, but we’re still going to play so it’s a lot of fun.”
The Eagles captured a 12-2 road win over Adrian on April 6 to put Holden’s record at 5-3 early in the season.
The Eagles finished in second place in the Holden Baseball Tournament played at Odessa High School April 10 – 14. Holden recorded wins over El Dorado Springs, Sherwood, and Knob Noster before falling to tournament champion Odessa. Smith and Siemer were named to the Holden Baseball Tournament All-Tournament Team.
The Eagles overcame a five-run deficit to defeat Knob Noster by the final score of 9-7 in a road conference game on April 20. Smith started for Holden on the mound, and was relieved by Wes Brown. Freshman Cohen Drake closed out the game to record the victory.
Holden defeated Oak Grove on May 3 in a non-conference match-up as Wes Brown earned the first win of his high school career.
The Eagles swept Carrollton in a conference doubleheader on May 4. Smith hit a home run in the first game as Siemer recorded the win on the mound. Gard and Morarity each hit a home run in the second game as Drake picked up the win on the mound.
Playing against host team Boonville, and against Eugene on the same field, the Eagles fell to Boonville by the score of 4-3 before defeating Eugene in game two by the score of 13-3 on May 6. Morarity recorded the win on the mound over Eugene.
After receiving a first-round bye, Holden defeated St. Michael the Archangel by the final score of 11-1 on May 13, in the semifinal round of the Class 3, District 14 Tournament at Barstow High School. Smith recorded the victory over the Guardians as the senior pitcher improved his season record to 7-1. The season came to a close for the Holden baseball team in a loss to Barstow in the district title game by the final score of 8-1.
The Holden baseball team ended the season with an overall record of 17-9. The Eagles placed second in the MRVC-East with a conference mark of 7-3.
“This year was the most trying for a lot of different reasons, you know, not having a home field for awhile…but these guys didn’t complain,” said coach Castle at the conclusion of the season. “We’re definitely going to miss our three seniors. They will be tough to replace.”