By Jerry Del Priore
The last time right-handed pitcher Colin Holderman, 23, climb the hill was on August 21, 2017, for the Columbia Fireflies.
But Tommy John Surgery forced him to miss the remainder of that season as well as the entire 2018 campaign.
However, Holderman (1-0) made a triumphant return to the mound on Sunday, tossing five strong innings in the Fireflies’ 3-1 win over the Lexington Legends (Kansas City Royals) at Segra Park.
The New York Mets’ ninth-round pick of the 2016 MLB amateur draft allowed just four hits, one walk, and surrendered one run in his long-awaited outing.
Columbia’s starter watched as his team took a 2-0 lead in the fourth. After Holderman allowed a run in the fifth, he let his defense behind him do the rest of the work. Holderman forced Michael Gigliotti to bounce into a critical 4-6-3 double play to end Lexington’s (14-15) threat.
Brian Sharp’s fourth dinger of the year the following frame handed the Fireflies the breathing room it needed. Columbia reliever Alec Kisena (S, 1) then slammed the door shut on the opposition in the sixth and seventh innings.
The win snapped the Fireflies’ five-game losing streak, and are now 9-20 on the young South Atlantic League (SAL) season.