Navy veteran Brian Holcomb fulfills dream, makes start for Jacksonville
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- Making his first-career start, U.S. Navy veteran Brian Holcomb produced a moment bigger than the game of baseball for Jacksonville on Tuesday evening.
Serving for 17 years in the service after high school, Holcomb was cleared through the NCAA and became a student-athlete at Jacksonville, earning a spot on the Dolphins' roster. Fulfilling a lifetime dream, head coach Tim Montez gave the 34-year old the ball to start the game against visiting Georgia Southern.
An amped Holcomb he delivered the first pitch strike to opposing batter Kody Adams. The Mason, Michigan native dealt the sidearm delivery fastballs and in the 2-2 count, Adams would pull the ball into right field for a leadoff single.
Montez would come out, salute and take the ball from Holcomb after the first batter, and the crowd and his teammates gave a hand and embraced the teammate and inspiration for all.
Parker Perez would work out of the first inning, a fly out to center field and a 6-4-3 double play ground out to first career-starter Chris Lehane who received the nod at shortstop.
In the camo hats, chosen by Holcomb as part of the starting pitcher selection for uniform choice, the Dolphins would knock around four Eagle pitchers for 10 hits. A tie game through the sixth, Eagles would plate the go-ahead run in the seventh and it wouldn't relinquish.
The Dolphins would plate two runs in the first inning and grab the early lead. With two outs, Angelo Amendolare would line a single into centerfield to start the rally while Seth Dewitt, with two on base, drove the pitch into left field for a two-RBI single.
In the third inning, a pair of doubles by Drew Luther and Connor Marabell would plate a run in the inning. It was the first of two doubles for the second most in category in the A-Sun, while Luther tallied his 11th.
Another local product on the Dolphin roster, Lehane went 2-for-3 in his debut with two double plays turned, the latter coming on a big play in the second inning. With the bases-loaded, Perez induced a ground-ball and Lehane took it himself for the 6-3 double-play to leave one stranded.
The Eagles would score four runs the last four innings, including a two-run sixth off a 2-RBI single by Aaron Mizell to tie the game at three apiece. Breaking the tie, Hunter Thomas would drive a solo-shot to right field.
The bats would go quiet for the remaining three innings, no runs and no hits for the home team.