Recalling Holley’s run of three straight sectional diamond titles

By Mike Wertman, Sports Writer Posted 31 May 2015 at 12:00 am

Contributed Photo – Pete Selden helped hurl Holley to three straight sectional titles from 1995-1997.

Holley’s 6-2 victory over East Rochester on Friday in the Section V Class CC championship game brings to mind the Hawks sensational run of three straight sectional diamond titles which began just 20 years ago.

It was an outstanding run from 1995 to 1997 led by by sparkling pitching and hitting of Pete Selden.

Holley shutout Genesee Region League foe Byron-Bergen 5-0 to capture the Class B championship in 1995. The Hawks then downed rival Kendall 7-1 for the Class CC crown in 1996 and bested Wellsville 6-4 for the CC title in 1997.

Selden literally powered Holley to the 1995 title victory over Byron-Bergen as he hurled a two hitter with eight strikeouts and also belted a grand slam home run in the third inning. An RBI single by Scott Bartlett plated the first run of the decisive five run uprising which also included an error, a walk and a single by Doug Williams.

The Hawks had advanced to the finals by defeating Marion 10-2 in the opening round, nipping Warsaw 1-0 in the quarterfinals and downing Bolivar-Richburg 9-2 in the semifinals.

Selden hurled a two hitter with 17 strikeouts and Keith Topham singled in the game’s only run in the win over Warsaw.

In the semis, Holley scored six quick runs in the first inning highlighted by triples by Bartlett, Mike Mele and Don Cater. Bartlett also picked up the win on the mound pitching a two hitter with two strikeouts.

In the 1996 Class CC title contest, Holley used a five run third inning scoring burst to key the 7-1 victory over Kendall. A two-run double by Don Cater and a two-run single by Williams highlighted that decisive uprising which provided more than enough support for Selden who went the distance on the mound scattering six hits and striking out five.

All nine starters contributed to Holley’s 13 hit attack as Bartlett had three, Topham and Brandon Smith two and Dan Cater, Williams, Selden, Don Cater, Jim Austin and Josh Davis one each.

The Hawks had advanced to the title contest by defeating Cuba-Rushford 13-4 in the quarterfinals and Warsaw 8-3 in the semis.

The Hawks pounded out 17 hits in the quarterfinals, including four by Bartlett. In the semis, the Hawks broke away from a 2-2 deadlock by scoring three times in the fifth inning on a two-run double by Smith and an RBI single by Don Cater. Selden hurled the final four frames allowing only one hit and striking out six.

In the 1997 Class CC title game, the Hawks scored five quick runs in the first inning to key the 6-4 win over Wellsville. A double by Topham, who also picked up the win on the mound, ignited that uprising which also included a two-run single by Eric Collyer, an RBI single by Brad Williams and an RBI sacrifice by Selden. On the mound Topham scattered 5 hits and strike out 2.

Holley had advanced to the CC finals by defeating Warsaw 7-4 in the first round, Kendall 1-0 in the quarterfinals and East Rochester 10-8 in 9 innings in the semifinals.

Selden hurled a one hitter with nine strikeouts against Kendall. The Hawks then scored twice in the ninth to outlast East Rochester. A double by Jeremy Rowley drove in the game winner and a sacrifice by Smith then plated an insurance run.

After besting Wellsville for the Class CC title, Holley’s postseason run continued as Section V had joined in participating in the state playoffs.

Holley then defeated Caledonia-Mumford 9-4 in the Section V Class C state qualifier as Selden had a big day on the mound and at the plate. He hurled a one hitter with 14 strikeouts in five innings of work on the mound and also hit a pair of two-run homers to spearhead the Hawks attack.

Keeping the momentum, Holley then nipped Section VI champion Falconer 3-2 in the Far West Regional. Karl Grann, Doug Nicholson and Smith took turns contributing RBI singles while on the mound Selden hurled a four hitter with 16 strikeouts.

That victory propelled Holley into the Class C state semifinals at Little Falls where the Hawks dropped a narrow 5-3 decision to Carle Place.

Holley did jump out to an early 2-0 lead on an RBI single by Brad Williams in the second inning and a home run by Topham in the third.

However, Carle place pulled even with 2 runs in the third and then took the lead for good with 2 more in the fourth.

Holley did pull to within 4-3 in the fifth as Topham singled and scored on a sacrifice by Selden but the Hawks could get no closer.

It was a memorable three year sectional championship run for Coach Mick VanDeMar’s Holley squad which went 52-8 over that stretch including 16-3 in 1995, 17-1 in 1996 and 19-4 in 1997.