By Robert Wilson
First-year Clinton High coach Sam Temple has been coaching baseball for a quarter of a century at the high school and college level.
Temple has coached dominating pitchers like Mississippi Player of the Year Taylor Tankersley of MHSAA Class 6A state champion and No. 6 nationally ranked Warren Central in 2001, Junior College All-American Randy Bell of national junior college runner-up Hinds Community College in 2014 and most recently Hinds CC product Preston Johnson, who helped Mississippi State win the national championship last season.
Temple has another pitcher who put in a performance last week that would rank among the best he has seen in one game over his 25-plus years of coaching.
Clinton senior right-hander and Hinds CC signee Grant Holmes allowed only three hits and one earned run with 14 strikeouts and no walks in 6 1/3 innings and also had a home run, a double, 3 runs batted in and a run scored in a 6-1 victory over Germantown in a MHSAA Class 6A, Region 4 game last week.
For his outstanding performance, Holmes has been named the Priority One Bank/Mississippi Scoreboard Metro Jackson Baseball Player of the Week.
Holmes, who also plays left field, first base and designated hitter, is having an outstanding season for Clinton, which has a 13-9 overall record, 5-4 in region play and is the No. 2 seed going into next week’s playoffs. He has a 3-2 record with a 2.58 earned run average with 37 strikeouts and 10 walks in 21 2/3 innings. Holmes is hitting .333 with 2 doubles, 1 triple, 2 home runs, 21 runs scored, 16 RBIs and a .519 on base percentage.
“Grant had a great performance both pitching and hitting for us in a big district game,” said Temple said, who has been a head coach at Hinds CC (16 years), Warren Central (five), Clinton (two, second stint this season) and an assistant at Mississippi College (three) and Delta State (graduate assistant, two). “His performance really helped as a team to have momentum in the series. We started the season using Grant in late innings mainly as a closer. Once we began starting him, it has really helped us establish out starting pitching for the season. Grant has been in the middle of our lineup all season and has had several big games for us this season. Grant is an outstanding young man and works hard both on and off the field.”
Clinton’s next game is Thursday against Class 5A Neshoba Central at Clinton.