By Steve Mims
Bridger Holmes’ recruiting process got blocked by COVID.
The right-handed pitcher had his junior season at North Bend cancelled due to the pandemic and his senior season was abbreviated.
“Losing both of those years was a problem,” Holmes said.
The 6-foot-5, 215-pounder found a home at Feather River Community College in Quincy, Calif. and went 7-0 with a 3.23 ERA in 16 games, including 12 starts as a freshman. He was named first team, All-Golden Valley Conference after striking out 70 in 61 1/3 innings.
Colleges started calling in the fall and Holmes quickly picked Oregon State.
“I went on a visit up there in October and committed,” he said.
Holmes grew up as an Oregon football fan because his dad, Garrett, played on the offensive line for the Ducks in the 1980s.
“But Oregon State was always the premier baseball school, winning national championships,” he said. “I always wanted to go there if I got the chance, so I am grateful.”
Holmes, who is 2-1 with a 3.52 ERA as a sophomore, will spend the summer playing for the Springfield Drifters in the West Coast League, a wood-bat circuit that features many of the top college players in the country. The Drifters open their second season at Hamlin Field on June 2 against Port Angeles.
“Before going to Oregon State, I want to get tested against some of the premier hitter and this is a great way to do that,” he said. “It is only a couple hours away from my home so it will be fun.”
Holmes moved to North Bend from the San Juan Islands in Washington during the summer before he started high school.
“It was nice because we moved midway through the summer and right away it was football season so I got to know some of the guys,” Holmes said. “By the time baseball came around, I knew a lot of people.”
He played wide receiver and linebacker in football in addition to his success in baseball, earning All-Midwestern League honors in both sports.
“I loved football, but baseball was always what I wanted to do,” Holmes said. “I was always at a small school so I pitched and hit, but in college I thought I would be a pitcher.”
After barely getting on the diamond during his final two years of high school, Holmes has developed into a Pac-12 pitcher during two seasons with the Golden Eagles.
“It has been great because as a pitcher, being on a regular schedule is definitely what you want,” he said.