Grant Holmes said leaving Conway is bittersweet.
But Holmes, who was made available to the media on Friday at the Conway High School baseball field, said he’s ready to prove he belongs at the next level.
Holmes was drafted by the Los Angeles Dodgers with the 22nd overall pick in the 2014 MLB First Year Player Draft last Thursday and still has yet to decide where he will go from here.
“It’s kind of surreal and it’s just a blessing. I’ve enjoyed every minute of it and I’ll enjoy every minute of it from here on out,” Holmes said. “It’s been a great ride and it’s kind of bittersweet that I’m leaving, but I’m moving on to bigger and better things. I’m gonna to do my best there too.”
Holmes can either sign a contract with the Dodgers or pursue a college career at Florida, which he had committed to pending his draft selection.
In order to make that decision, Holmes will listen to his family members and go from there.
“It’s really a family decision,” he said. “What everyone goes with, that’s what we’ll do. Whatever it is we choose is going to be the right decision.”
Conway baseball coach Anthony Carroll said Holmes is one of the most extraordinary players he’s ever coached, and believes his integrity will help him at the next stage.
“It’s been special coaching him,” Carroll said. “He’s a special kid that comes with an unbelievable work ethic and just absolutely does everything. It’s been an honor to have him as a part of the program, not just because he’s a first round draft pick but because of the person he is.”
Being a first round draft pick, Holmes has a lot of hype to live up to but said he doesn’t let the stress consume him.
“I’m kind of a laid back guy and I kind of [handle pressure] well,” Holmes said. “I just chill and don’t really let them [get to me].”
Holmes performs well in pressure situations and the righty pitcher is bound to run into a few more of those situations on his path to the major leagues. This past season, Holmes posted a career-low 0.35 ERA with 82 strikeouts in 40 innings of work.
“[The Dodgers] will be getting everything they drafted me for and probably a little bit more,” Holmes said. “But I’m going to give it all I got and try to get to the [Major Leagues] as fast as I can.”
During his four years as a varsity starter at Conway, Holmes posted a 20-6 record with a staggering 305 strikeouts in 189 2/3 innings.
“He’s been clutch every time he took the mound for us,” Carroll said. “When he goes to the mound – we win. It’s been that way for four or five years,” Carroll said. “I’m not sure what we’re going to do moving forward to try to find that guaranteed win but the last four or five years we’ve been blessed to have him. Know that when he goes out there –we’re going to win if we can score runs.”
Carroll said the Dodgers will be grateful for drafting the Conway product.
“They’ll get a kid that will compete his tail off and give them everything he’s got,” Carroll said. “He doesn’t get into situations he doesn’t think he can get out of and that’s something that’s going to be beneficial for him at the next level.”
Holmes has brought a lot of recognition to the Conway program, being the first player in Horry County history to be drafted in the first round straight out of high school.
“He’s done a lot for our program. Being a first round pick, he’s brought a lot of attention to our program, which is always good,” Carroll said. “The main thing I think is he’s laid the foundation for what it takes to be able to get to that level. People can look at him and see the work ethic that he has and kind of put that in conjunction with what it takes to get to the next level; and I think that’s the biggest thing. Our young kids can look at him and see how hard he worked and know that it can happen to anybody if we’re all willing to work that hard.”
Holmes could soon be playing at the same level as his brother, Colby Holmes, a former South Carolina Gamecock and current minor leaguer. Colby Holmes was drafted by the Atlanta Braves in the 47th round of the 2009 MLB June Amateur Draft and currently plays for the Danville Braves of the Rookie Appalachian League. Colby Holmes even made it as far as High-A this season, playing four games for the Lynchburg Hillcats of the Carolina League.
Meanwhile, Grant Holmes credits Carroll for helping develop his game and for teaching him the ins and outs of baseball and will carry that with him wherever he decides to go.
“He’s been coaching me for five years and I’ve enjoyed every bit of it,” he said. “He’s a great coach and like I said, it’s kind of bittersweet leaving but bigger things are yet to come.”
Contact MAX McKINNON at 626-0302.