By Steve Gunn

MUSKEGON – Muskegon Catholic baseball star Jacob Holt is a great hitter, so of course he gets on base a lot.

But it’s not always because he hits the ball. Quite often it’s the other way around.LSJ Logo incert

Holt, MCC’s senior All-State catcher, just set the Michigan High School Athletic Association career record for being hit by pitches.

He established the new mark when he was hit for the 58th time in his four-year career in a holt 3game on Thursday against North Muskegon, according to the Crusaders coaching staff.

Holt was actually hit by pitches three different times in that game. The first incident tied the old state record of 57, the second set the new one, and the third was the 59th of his career, he said.

“The one that broke the record hit me in the arm,” said Holt, who has accepted a scholarship to study and play baseball at Aquinas College next year. “The next one hit me in the head.”

Holt’s record grew to 60 on Friday when he was hit by yet another pitch in a Lakes 8 Conference game against Spring Lake.

Holt recalls one game against Ludington when he was beaned four different times.

“I think one reason (for the new record) is that I have been up on varsity since I was a freshman,” Holt said. “That gives you more time to get hit. I also feel comfortable standing close to the plate. I’ve done that since I can remember and it puts more pressure on the pitcher.

“None of them have knocked me down. Earlier this year against Orchard View I got hit in the knee. That hurt for a minute or two. I believe when I was a freshman we were playing Gobles and their pitcher threw in the mid-80s. I took one in the back, and then a curve ball to the spine in the same game. Those two didn’t feel too good, either.”

Holt heads for the dugout after scoring for the Crusaders during a game against Western Michigan Christian on April 21. Photo/Tim Reilly

Photos/Tim Reilly

Holt said his coaches have encouraged him to back off the plate, and he tried it for a while, but then went back to his old hitting approach.

‘Our hitting coach told me to step back in the box and get more extension on the ball, and at the beginning of the year I did that, but I feel more comfortable being close to the plate,” Holt said.

“I’ve been (crowding the plate) since I was little. I got hit a lot then, too, but you don’t really feel it for that long, and any way I can get on base and help my team win, I’m going to do it.”

Part of the reason Holt has the courage to crowd the plate is his size. At 6-1, 225 pounds, most of the pitches that hit him cause minimal discomfort.

“I know when I played, I got out of the way every chance I could,” said Muskegon Catholic Coach Steve Schuitema, whose defending state champion Crusader squad is now 24-4 on the season. “But it’s like it just deflects off Jake. He’s an ironman.”

With Holt getting beaned so many times, one might wonder if a pitcher or two might have done it on purpose, to keep the bulky MCC slugger from making solid contact and advancing much further than first base.

But Holt doesn’t believe that, and said he’s never lost his temper after being beaned.

“I don’t even look at the pitchers after it happens,” he said. “They don’t try to do it. There’s no reason to start anything.”