The Rams enter today’s matchup with the rival Orphans at 23-5-1 overall and riding a 13-game winning streak. Mt. Vernon hasn’t lost in more than a month.
During the last half decade, the Rams baseball program has sent numerous players to the college level including current Division I player Ryan Quick along with Division I signee Wes Mason. The Rams have established a pipeline to Rend Lake College. Quick started there. Currently, Blake Deaton and Zack Jones are playing for the Warriors. Current seniors Landon Thomas and Tyler Ellis have committed to Rend Lake.
“Being around athletics your entire life, you have a pretty good idea of who the winners are,” Holloway said. “They’re locked in mentally. They’re paying attention to everything.
“It’s just a lot of factors that go into it.”
Holloway along with his varsity coaching staff of Tom Fulkerson and Quinn McClure have constructed a professional-type model to the high school team. Players start out at the lower levels and grow comfortable adjusting to the game. They are allowed to grow and learn from their mistakes at the freshman and junior varsity levels before being brought up to the varsity level. The system is streamlined with coaches and players intermingling. A junior varsity coach may be working with varsity players at a certain point during the season. Also varsity coaches can dole out instruction to players at the lower levels.
Players are constantly being evaluated from the start of their high school career. The desired result is growth and maturity.
“Our varsity coaches work with the JV players and from their freshman year on we’re evaluating, trying to provide an atmosphere where those players can grow both as athletes and as individuals into a good varsity player,” Holloway said.
The system has led to 11 seniors being on the roster this season. Almost half of the team’s starting lineup is committed to play a sport in college. Tyler Ellis, Landon Thomas and Collin Young will all play baseball next year.