By Bob Sutton
Special to The Alamance News
Tucker Holland went through the full pre-draft process, but before last week’s amateur baseball draft he pretty much decided where he would be spending his next venture.
It’s in college with the Arkansas baseball team.
A week later, it all made sense to the big left-handed pitcher from The Burlington School.
“I love everything that has happened,” Holland said Tuesday night from Fayetteville, Arkansas, where he began summer classes a few weeks earlier.
“Just kind of being in college is a different feel. What baseball really is like at Arkansas, it’s hard to take that away from yourself.”
Holland had been considered a draftable high school prospect and received wide-spread attention from scouts and other observers from major league organizations.
Last month, he was one of 323 college and high school players selected for the Major League Baseball draft combine at Chase Field in Phoenix.
“That was kind of a last check-up,” Holland said of evaluating his draft stock. “It was a lot of fun hanging around all those guys. I knew some of the high school guys from playing all the summer travel ball. (From the college players) I saw how they go about things.”
Holland said he was pretty certain he would take the college route. After the second day of the three-day draft, he announced on social media that he would be playing for the Razorbacks.
That was met with considerable excitement from an Arkansas fan base that grows fidgety around each draft to see which of its recruits will be plucked for professional ball.
“I didn’t want to officially pull my name out until Day 2,” he said.
Holland, whose dad, Chad Holland, is the TBS coach and former Graham coach, said he’s already became immersed in the Arkansas program through workouts on campus. He’s also taking a history course and theater class.
He said he likes how the baseball part has panned out.
“I know some of the stuff is paying off a little bit,” he said. “I can’t stop there. I have to keep working.”
• Elon pitcher Ben Simon, who played three seasons for the Phoenix, was selected in the 13th round of the draft by the New York Mets.
He tied for fourth this year in the Colonial Athletic Association with seven saves. In 25 innings, Simon struck out 32 and walked eight on the way to a 1-3 record and 3.20 earned run average.
Simon, 21, had nine career saves in 56 appearances. He leaves Elon with a 5-8 all-time record, 5.20 ERA and 103 strikeouts.