When Eastside’s multi-sport star Austin Holloway signed a letter of intent Thursday to play baseball at Georgia College, he had a confession to make as to which sport was his favorite.
“It’s gotta be baseball,” Holloway said.
And his track record shows it.
Holloway’s love affair with the game began at an age when most kids are still unable to write their own names.
“I started playing when I was three years old, and it’s just been my first love,” Holloway said. “You know, it comes from my dad. I always wanted to play, always wanted to throw. I always wanted to have a baseball in my hand.”
Now the Eastside catcher and quarterback has an official baseball scholarship in his hand. Holloway chose Georgia College over schools such Newberry College in Nashville, Tenn., Emmanuel College and Travecca. And he couldn’t be happier, both with his choice and the fact that the recruiting process is now behind him.
“It feels good now that I have this part of things out of the way,” Holloway said. “I can go and relax and play ball, now that I know what my future holds. I can just go out and have fun my senior year.”
If Holloway and his Eagle teammates can replicate or surpass their most recent success, it would be a fun year indeed. Holloway helped lead Eastside to a 23-11 record last season which included a Final Four appearance in the Class AAAA state tournament.
And while Holloway’s hitting has always been fairly consistent, Evans says that it’s the 5-foot-10 senior’s ability sitting behind home plate that sets him apart.
“He’s an incredible player,” Evans said. “He’s probably the best catcher I’ve seen in high school, and I’ve seen a lot of catchers in high school. Last year we go to the Final Four and he shuts down everybody’s run game. Teams had to give us an out in order to move guys into scoring position.”
Evans, who will be going into his third season at the helm of Eastside’s baseball program, says Holloway is so good — and underrated to boot — that he fully expects some of the Division I baseball blue bloods to eat their hearts out for skipping over him.
“He’s definitely a D-1 talent,” Evans said. “His pop time to second (base) is incredible. He could be a Georgia guy or Clemson or any of those. He’s good enough to do that. But they get stuck on someone being 6-foot-3. But Austin plays bigger than any 6-foot-3 guys I’ve had to deal with. He’s that good.”
Holloway’s baseball and football teammate Josh Sims agrees.
"It’s crazy seeing him sign today," Sims said. "He should be going D-1. He’s got that kind of talent to where he should be going to what’s considered the top notch schools. They see his size and don’t give him a chance, but that helps schools like Georgia College, because their getting themselves a hell of a player.”
Sims acknowledged, with a smile, that Holloway wasn’t his favorite person in the world at first. The two have known each other since those toddler baseball years. But Sims' slight disdain turned out to be a boon for both players’ development.
“I didn’t like him at first,” Sims said with a laugh. “But it’s because he was always the best player on the team, and it made me step my game up. He pushed me to my limits and I pushed him to his. He always goes hard and makes you want to do your best. Now, he’s my best friend. He’s like my brother now. We do everything together.”
As for the size thing, Holloway himself admitted that it used to get under his skin. But he said it didn’t take him long to learn to be comfortable in that same skin.
“At first it used to bother me, but then I said I’m just gonna go and play ball,” he said. “I knew that God had a plan for me and I was going to be okay with whatever was going to happen. Now I just want to have fun, and I’m ready to get to Milledgeville.”