By Tony Adams
By now, you have seen all of the local sports pages talk about the amazing Sidney Holman. A pitching phenom. An All-State caliber pitcher. A local fashion model. A Christian athlete. A humble, team player. The leader of the 2016 Belton Lady Tigers.
All of these are true. But this feature is not about all of that: this is about statistics, the body of truth and how her performance in the circle has been the wheel, the rudder and helm of ship that is the 2016 Belton Lady Tigers team that has set sail on a course toward Austin and a shot at Class 6A State Championship in June.
The course has been filled with treachery, starting with a tough Bryan-College Station Tournament, a storm through the Round Rock Tournament and a multitude of tests through the CenTex Hit-and-Run Tournament. The course continued with Waco Midway on Tuesday night.
All throughout, Holman has been steadfast.
Statistically, she is without a doubt the best pitcher in Belton history. There have been many greats, but Holman is a step above. Here are 12 things to look at when it comes to Holman and her legacy:
1. Going into Tuesday night’s game with Midway, Holman had 105 starts in her career and 108 total appearances. Her overall record is 74-29 (winning percentage of .718) and has an earned run average of 1.92.
2. Of her 105 starts in her career, she has 11 no-hitters. Four of the 11 no-hitters were perfect games.
3. She has 36 games that were either one or two-hit games. Of that number, 21 were one-hitters and 15 were two-hitters. Ironically, she has the same number of three-hitters, four-hitters and five-hitters: 14.
4. In just March 2016 alone, Holman has eight shutouts and has allowed just 15 hits in nine games. She walked four batters in those nine games. She has struck out an alarming 113 batters in March.
5. She has struck out 10-plus batters in 10 of her starts in 2016. She had 28 in her first three years.
6. Holman contributes at the plate. In 2016, she is hitting .288 with a homer and seven runs batted in, scoring seven runs and has 17 hits. Holman has punch for sure, with four career homers, 33 runs batted in, 56 hits, 11 doubles and two triples. She has a career batting average of .306, a career on-base percentage of .404 and has hit .296 for career with runners in scoring position (21-of-71). Her teams have more than picked up the slack in her four seasons in the circle. This year’s team is hitting .394, giving her an average of 7.35 runs per outing. It is a number that is slightly skewed in District 12-6A play, giving Holman 15 runs per outing through four district games. Remove the 60 runs scored in district games and the average is 5.44. With her current earned run average of 0.67, only allowing 10 earned runs and 13 runs total, Holman has ample offensive support every outing.
7. She has only given up four or more earned runs just eight times in the last three seasons: once in 2016, twice in 2015 and five times in 2014.
8. The team dynamic has changed from a power-hitting team to a slap-and-speed team and both teams produced for her.
9. Her strikeout-to-walk ratio has increased every season of her career, allowing her to reset the school record for strikeouts twice, split her earned run average from her sophomore season to her junior season and put her in the chase for 1,000 strikeouts for her career. She has 822 strikeouts in her career to 244 walks (as of Monday) and it would take a long playoff run to put her near 1,000, which the team is capable of doing. Her career strikeout-to-walk ratio is 3.37-to-1. She has accomplished this in a district where several of the games in a season end up only going four, five or six innings at best and has been an issue in each year of her career. According to calculations, Holman would need to average 9.75 over the last eight regular season games to get to 900, thanks to her 113 strikeouts in March.
10. She is only 55 strikeouts from resetting the school record (again). In 2013, she had 177 strikeouts and 74 walks in 135 innings and had a 2.59 ERA. In 2014, she set the school record in strikeouts with 218 strikeouts and did so in 178 innings, allowing 87 walks with an ERA of 2.66. In 2015, she reset the record with 241 strikeouts and split her ERA in half to 1.33, while doing so in 21 less innings (158) and allowing just 61 walks. She is at 186 strikeouts and 22 walks in 105 innings and has split her ERA in half again, currently sitting at 0.67.
11. High velocity, in control. With throwing speeds up to 69 miles-per-hour, one is going to get away. It is human nature. Holman has only hit 21 batters in 108 games. However, since she hit 11 batters in 2013, she hit just five batters in 2014, two batters in 2015 and three so far in 2016. Each season, she has upped her pitch speed, physical strength and adding pitches.
12. Efficiency is the key. In 2013, she threw 2,347 pitches in 137 innings (17.13 pitches per inning). In 2014, she threw 2,999 pitches in 179 innings (16.75 pitches per inning). In 2015, she threw 2,474 pitches in 158 innings (15.66 pitches per inning). Thus far in 2016, she has thrown 1,546 in 105 innings (14.72 pitches per inning). Just like her earned run average, the average number of pitches per inning has gone down as well.
Each year that Sidney Holman has played for the Lady Tigers, the team has improved. She has improved right along with the team and it is not a stretch to believe that Holman makes Belton one of the most competitive teams in the state at any classification.