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Saturday, Sep. 20, 2014

Nelson hired as Holcomb coach

Sunday, July 2, 2006

(Photo)
Sikeston native Ben Nelson
SIKESTON -- Former Sikeston Bulldog standout Ben Nelson was recently hired to take over the Holcomb baseball program.

Nelson graduated from Sikeston High School in 2001 after helping lead the team to a second place finish in Class 3A that year.

Nelson, an all-conference player, didn't play baseball in college, but his passion for the game didn't fade.

Nelson went to Southeast Missouri State University where he majored in physical education with the intent of being a baseball coach some day.

He didn't have to wait long.

Nelson, 23, graduated from SEMO this past May while helping coach the Sikeston Bulldogs as an assistant alongside head coach Kevin Self.

Nelson, who played under Self, feels he had the perfect tutor for being a head coach.

"I credit most of what I learned in the game, especially at the high school level, to Kevin Self," said Nelson. "The way he runs practices and the way he goes about his coaching during the games, I will probably resemble that quite a bit. Just look at his record. He's made Sikeston a dominant school in the area for baseball. He's got a proven track record and I think he would be a good coach to emulate."

Nelson said he wasn't aware of the Holcomb opening until hearing about it from some friends and checking a Missouri teachers website.

He interviewed for the job and was hired fairly quickly.

He will be taking over a program that went 14-11 last year and lost in the district final to Cooter, but the Hornets return most of their top players, including Tri-County Conference co-player of the year in 2005 in Steven McElwrath and two pitchers that combined to go 8-1 this past spring.

Holcomb has won nine district championships in school history and have made it to the state final four five times, taking second three times and third twice.

Holcomb was 16-9 two years ago while reaching the Class 1 state quarterfinals.

"One thing I learned from playing ball in high school is your main goals are the same no matter what group of kids you have out there," said Nelson. "First of all you want to have fun, that's the main thing. But every season the goal needs to be, if you're in a conference, you need to win that and win your conference tournament. And in the end the main thing is you want to win district and go as far as you can. And not just make a showing at state, you want to win it."

Nelson hopes that, being a new coach, interest in baseball will continue to be high in Holcomb.

"Maybe a few extra kids will come out this year because it's going to be different," said Nelson. "I'd like to bring some youth to them and play an aggressive style game. I can handle kids making physical errors, but mental mistakes is what I hope to eliminate from the game. I like to use the season as a learning process and if we're going to take losses because of that, then that's fine. As long as we're going to learn from those mistakes to prepare ourselves for districts."