Central High graduate Bryant Holtmann is leaving Florida State behind after a strong senior season, but hopes to help the nationally ranked Seminoles extend things all the way to the College World Series.
The 10th-ranked Seminoles (41-19) won the ACC Conference Tournament championship Sunday with a 6-2 victory over North Carolina State and Holtmann was the starting pitcher.
“It’s awesome,” Holtmann said. “The first two years here we went 0-3 in the ACC Tournament. Last year going 2-1 we got back on the right track and the energy we had this year going into the tournament ... everybody into the dugout was into it the whole way.”
Florida State is the No. 1 seed at its own regional and opens play at 6 p.m. Friday against Mercer. The College of Charleston and Auburn also are in the double-elimination regional.
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Holtmann’s nine starts are the fourth-most on the team and he’s made 19 appearances overall. The senior left-hander is 6-1 with a 3.25 ERA and 32 strikeouts in 61 innings.
One of his best starts was throwing seven shutout innings in a 6-1 victory over state rival Florida,
“I’ve had a good year,” he said. “I struggled a little bit early and kept working and was able to figure out a few mechanical issues I had.”
His best pitch is a cutter, a cut fastball, though he’s also had success throwing his changeup and curveball for strikes.
Holtmann could be drafted and likely will get the opportunity he’s always dreamed of — playing professional baseball.
“I’ve had contact with a couple teams, but nobody really knows what’s going to happen until the day of the draft,” Holtmann said. “It would be a huge accomplishment for me because I’ve obviously always wanted to play pro ball.
“Once you get to pro ball, the biggest goal is to get to the big leagues.”
* Former Belleville West infielder Kane Sweeney helped the Morehead State baseball team to its first Ohio Valley Conference Tournament championship since 1993 and has been swinging one of the most productive bats in a prolific offense.
Morehead State leads the nation in batting average, hits, doubles, doubles per game, slugging percentage, runs and runs per game.
Sweeney — a first-team All-OVC selection — will carry a team-leading 35-game on-base streak into the NCAA Louisville Regional. The Eagles (38-20) will take on the host Louisville Cardinals at 5 p.m. Friday in the double-elimination tournament. Bradley and Michigan are the other two teams at the regional.
Despite hitting .352, that only ties Sweeney for fourth on the nation’s top-hitting team. He also has 17 doubles, one triple and a team-leading 14 home runs to go along with 60 RBIs in only 57 games.
The senior first baseman also leads the Eagles with a .483 on-base percentage and leads the team and conference with 52 walks.
Morehead State has already set new school records for wins and conference wins this season.
* Triad High graduate Brianna Butler closed out her softball career at Missouri-State Louis as a third-team NCAA Division II All-American as chosen by the National Fastpitch Coaches Association.
It was the second straight All-American season for Butler, an honorable mention choice last season. She also was a first-team All-Great Lakes Valley Conference and All-Midwest Region pick who led UMSL (48-8) with a .362 batting average and single-season school record 18 home runs and 48 RBIs.
* Former Waterloo infielder Brad Dillenberger’s acrobatic catch for Central Arkansas last Thursday that nearly had him flipping into the Houston Baptist dugout was good enough to make ESPN’s Top 10 Plays that night.
Dillenberger hit .262 in 33 games for the Bears (29-24) with one double and 14 RBIs.
* Belleville native Rob Bertucci recently finished his career as a senior pitcher at Division III Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). The 2010 graduate of St. Louis University High is majoring in electrical engineering and computer science.
He made 12 relief appearances this season, compiling a 1-0 record with a 3.93 ERA and 11 strikeouts in 18 1/3 innings. As a junior he pitched in a career-high 19 games, including two starts.
MIT reached the NCAA Division III New England Regional before being eliminated in the regional title game by Ramapo.