Dave Hollins, who wants so much to follow in the footsteps of his father, appears headed in the right direction.
The Orchard Park senior was named the Western New York Player of the Year to highlight the selections on this year’s 43rd annual All-WNY team. The 11-player team was chosen by a panel of local coaches.
The elder Hollins, also named Dave, was named WNY’s best player for the Quakers in 1984. He was named All-WNY in both 1983 and 1984. He went on to a 12-year career (1990-2002) in the major leagues playing with seven different teams. His big league career was highlighted by a 1993 All-Star game appearance while with Philadelphia.
“He taught me pretty much everything, the biggest thing would be to have that drive,” said Hollins, who batted .508 this spring. “He coached the Binghamton Mets, the Capital City Bombers – being around the actual players and seeing the grind it was everyday, it was amazing.”
Hollins led OP (18-3) to the ECIC I title and the Class AA title game. He drove in 31 runs with 31 hits while scoring 30 runs and had an on-base percentage of .598.
A 6-foot, 165 pound shortstop, Hollins was drafted in the 35th round by the Detroit Tigers in this spring’s Major League Draft. He also has a scholarship offer from St. Petersburg College, Fla., a Division I junior college. Hollins said on Thursday he was leaning toward school, but added the Tigers were coming to see him on his AAABA and MUNY AAA teams next week and he would wait until then to make a final decision.
The All-WNY history in the Hollins family goes deeper than father-son. Hollins’ uncles, Paul (1976 and 1977) and Steve (1986) were also All-WNY selections for OP.
Around the horn
Orchard Park, Lancaster and Albion had two All-WNY picks each. Ryan MacCarrick of OP and Alex O’Donnell of Starpoint were the only repeat picks. O’Donnell ends his three varsity seasons as the school record holder for doubles in a career with 32. He batted .452 in leading the Spartans to the Class A-1 title.
Coach Tim Racey said O’Donnell was “easily the best baseball player I have coached in 26 years.”
MacCarrick batted .426 and was a “line drive machine,” according to OP coach Jim Gibson. OP outscored opponents, 192-60, in 21 games.
This year’s Section VI champions were Lancaster (Class AA), Albion (Class A), Fredonia (Class B), Cassadaga Valley (Class C) and North Collins (Class D).
Lancaster’s title was its second in three years. Helping the Redskins to a 19-5 record were All-WNY picks catcher J.D. Andreessen and P/3B Ryan Stekl. Andreessen had a postseason to remember with a walkoff home run against Frontier in the quarterfinals and a grand slam against Williamsville North in the semifinal.
The title was the first for CV since 1958. All five champions lost to their Section V Rochester counterparts in the Far West Regionals.
Canisius won the Georgetown Cup with a sweep of two-time defending champion St. Joe’s in the best-of-three series. John Conti of the Crusaders represents the Monsignor Martin Association on All-WNY. He used his tremendous speed to score the winning run in the second playoff game against Joe’s.
Weston Ley of Fredonia is heading into the U.S. Air Force. He only struck out twice in 17 games. On the mound he was 5-1 and 14-2 in his career. He was a four-year starter in baseball and a three-sport athlete.
Genesee CC is getting a solid battery with Albion pitcher Connor Barleben and catcher John Warne. Barleben throws in the mid-80s and has a nice curveball.
The pair led the Purple Eagles to three sectional titles in the past four years. Both homered in a 2-1 win over Starpoint in the Class A final at Lew-Port with Barleben’s shot coming in the seventh inning.
City Honors won the Cornell Cup for the second year in a row, led by the strong pitching of Caleb Lee.