MT. VERNON — When the Rams baseball team travels to Centralia today, they will be trying to claim a South Seven Conference crown.
It’s no secret Mt. Vernon has dominated conference play over the past few years. What may have gone a bit more unnoticed is the history Mt. Vernon achieved a week ago.
The team’s win at Murphysboro on Tuesday gave the Rams baseball program its fifth straight 20-win season.
It’s never happened in the history of the program.
The success over the past five seasons has come through a foundation of solid coaching, talented players and a winning mindset.
“We believe if you’re fundamentally sound, you have a chance to win any game you’re in,” Mt. Vernon coach Tim Holloway said. “You may not win them all, but you have to take every advantage and every opportunity that you get.”
Mt. Vernon baseball dates back to the 1940s, according to IHSA.org. In those days teams were lucky to play 10 games. As the popularity of the sport expanded so did the schedules. According to the site, the Rams first 20-victory season occurred in 1988 under the school’s winningest coach Ferrell Wiman.
Gil Bernard strung together four straight 20-win seasons in the mid-90s. Holloway played for Bernard in the early 90s before graduating and playing two sports at SIU-Edwardsville.
“I thought he was always a smart player,” Bernard said. “Those are the kind of guys that usually make pretty good coaches because they pay attention to detail, and as a coach you have to pay attention to the details.”
Mt. Vernon’s record during the stretch is a combined 127-43-1. The Rams have also racked up a pair of regional titles during the run.
“I’ve known some of the players that have played over the past few years, and they’re super kids,” Bernard said. “They’re good ball players and very coachable players with a lot of talent, and I think Tim has done a really good job helping to mold those kids.”