Post 166 tryouts on horizon; Holt anxious
New Post 166 baseball coach David Holt has a playing and coaching history that stretches back into the Boston Red Sox organization.
The new skipper of the local American Legion team has begun building his first Post 166 team and tryouts are set to begin May 6 at 6 p.m.
“I’m really looking forward to getting started,” said Holt, who had a five-season minor league career from 1979-1983 in the Red Sox organization after his college days at Fresno State. “We’ve got a lot of holes to fill on the roster. It’s too early to tell how we’re going to look and how we’re going to be but we’ve got a good foundation to build around.”
Workouts/tryouts will be held through May 10 at Goose Creek High School’s baseball field. Interested senior and junior legion players are asked to attend if able. For more information, call Holt at (559) 303-7329 or assistant coach Bob Timm at (843) 425-7679.
Holt, a graduation specialist at GCHS, was an assistant under Jimmy Huskey in 2011 when Post 166 advanced to the state tournament, finishing 23-13. Holt’s primary responsibility was working with the catchers and infielders.
“He did an incredible job,” Huskey said. “He dedicated a lot of his time to be out there. He’s very organized. I think the kids got a lot of information from him. He’s a very laid back coach. He’s not a yeller or screamer. He’s a teacher.”
Last summer, Post 166 was 25-9 and placed third in the state tournament.
Huskey stepped down this spring after guiding Post 166 to five League 1 championships over the last seven seasons.
“No. 1, we want them to play the game hard every day, to come out and give their best effort,” Holt said. “Baseball is a game that you’ve got to grind it out. And the teams that compete every day and are steady are going to win more than they lose.”
Holt’s baseball history figures to be an asset as Post 166 aims to continue its successful run.
He was the manager of three Red Sox affiliates for 11 seasons from 1984-94 (Winter Haven, Fla., New Britain, Conn. and Elmira, N.Y.). After the Red Sox run ended, he coached in an independent league for three seasons.
In 2000, he helped form the Salinas Packers franchise, a summer wood bat team for college stars in the California Coastal Collegiate League.
After selling the team, Holt moved to his old hometown in Visalia, Calif. to lead the Mount Whitney High School baseball program for four years. The Pioneers won three games the year before Holt took over but won a sectional title in his final season.
Holt and wife Sheila, a health sciences teacher at GCHS, moved to Charleston in 2009. They had made visits to the area to see their daughter, who was getting a master’s degree from The Citadel, and Sheila is a Florida native.
So, the east coast was appealing.
“It’s like the perfect storm came together,” Holt said.
This upcoming Post 166 season roster is still coming together but after last season all but five players from 2012 were eligible to return, including ace pitcher and outfielder Zach Lavery.
Lavery was 6-0 on the mound with two saves, fashioning a 1.70 earned-run average and fanning 59 batters in 46-plus innings pitched. He also had a perfect fielding percentage from his spot in centerfield and batted .341. He had team highs with 16 stolen bases and 25 walks too.
Zack Wimmer could also be back. He led the team with a .384 batting average and drove in a team-high 39 runs.
Wimmer and Lavery are freshman players at The Citadel this spring.
Other notable players eligible to return are catcher Jordan Lacavera (.323 BA), pitcher/infielder Cody Smith (4-0 pitching record, 1.91 ERA), pitcher/infielder Tyler Rio (4-2, 3.30 ERA).