SYLACAUGA – Since Tyler Holmes began playing baseball seven years ago, he has dreamed of playing baseball on the collegiate level. On Thursday afternoon, his dream became a reality as he signed a baseball scholarship with Talladega College in the library of B.B. Comer High School.
“I wanted to play college baseball anywhere,” Holmes said. “I never had one specific college that I wanted to go to. Ever since I started to play baseball, I wanted to play on the next level and keep on playing. Hopefully, I will play throughout the rest of my life. Maybe one day I will; I just have to work for what I want.”
Talladega College had a historic season on the diamond in 2014. The Tornadoes won 39 games, which is a school record. TC won the Gulf Coast Atlantic Conference Tournament and made the opening round of the NAIA World Series. Holmes said their success played a major role in his decision.
“They just got done winning their conference championship and they are really close to home,” Holmes said. “They are a four-year college; I wasn’t ready to go to a huge college. They are close to home and they are paying for me to go to school.”
Former Comer standout Kameron Mizzell led the way for the Tornadoes this season. Mizzell earned Gulf Coast Atlantic Player of the Year honors in his senior season. Holmes said it’s going to be tough to follow in the footsteps of Mizzell, but he is willing to put in the work to become as good as or better than him.
“I talked to Kameron. He said it is hard work up there,” Holmes said. “With everything he has done, it is going to be a huge shadow on me, but maybe I will be able to fill it and make it bigger. He set a huge mark. Coming from the same school as him and being the second Comer player to go there, I feel like I am obligated to do that.”
Evan Blair coached Holmes for the previous three seasons, and he was able to witness his growth on the baseball field as well as his growth as a young man.
“First of all they are getting a great kid,” Blair said. “They are getting a high character person that is smart and going to stay out of trouble. He has a heck of a bat. He didn’t have a home run through his 10th grade year, but he hit 12 the last two years. I think he slid through the cracks because he can hit the baseball.”
The first team All-Talladega County selection wasn’t pleased with how some of his numbers decreased in his senior season, but he was pleased with his overall performance.
“My senior year wasn’t as good as my junior year,” Holmes said. “I batted .398 my senior year with four home runs. My junior year, I batted .396 with eight home runs. My average stayed the same, but my home runs and power dropped down a little bit.”
TC assistant coach Jeff De La Concha is elated about Holmes signing with the Tornadoes. He said he was impressed with Holmes’ ability to hit with power and his arm strength during his tryout.
“We are excited to get local student athletes to come to Talladega,” De La Concha said. “He put up some big numbers in his senior year, so we are extremely excited to help his college dreams come true. He is going to help us out a lot. He is probably going to play in the outfield and get as many at bats as he can as a freshman.”
De La Concha believes Holmes has the potential to be just as good a player as Mizzell before all is said and done.
“I think it is going to be consistent,” he said. “I think he is going to put up Kam-like numbers at Talladega,” Holmes said. ”I think he has a good swing and the power to do it.”
Contact LaVonte Young at email@example.com.