Home is where the heart is.
Claremore graduate Isaac Hollihan loves playing baseball and takes his academics pretty serious.
For the next four years, Hollihan will continue his baseball career a short distance from his Claremore residence at Rogers State University.
Hollihan, who graduated with a 3.8 grade point average from Claremore High School this year, was one of 14 recipients to receive the President’s Leadership Class scholarship.
“Over 100 apply and only 14 get chosen,” Hollihan said.
To know that his college tuition is completely paid for over the next four years is a blessing to not only his parents, John and Deana Hollihan, but his future baseball coach Ron Bradley as well.
Hollihan’s quest toward playing college baseball started in offseason of his senior year. Until that point, the three-year Zebra starting outfielder battled back and forth with a tough decision.
According to Hollihan, the opportunity to play close to home and be a part of a winning baseball program — the two-time NAIA Division I World Series Hillcats — was too good to pass up.
“It’s definitely an honor to play a great program and Coach (Ron) Bradley,” Hollihan said. “Bradley knows what he’s doing and is very similar to the coaching I received at Claremore from Coach (Brent) Payne.”
RSU, who plans to make the transition into NCAA Division II this coming year, gives Hollihan a chance to compete against some of the toughest teams in the country.
“The level of play will be extremely competitive and a transition I’m looking forward too,” Hollihan said.
An infielder growing up, Hollihan found a comfort zone roaming right field over the past three years as a Zebra.
Hollihan’s fielding percentage in right field was flawless at 1.000. This past season, he played 36 games without an error.
“One of the best defensive outfielders that I’ve ever coached,” Payne said.
At the plate, Hollihan was just as consistent — once he became more relaxed — with a .370 batting average, five home runs, five doubles and three triples.
“I’m definitely going to miss Isaac,” Payne said. “He was our leader and a part of a very special senior group.”
Hollihan receives PLC scholarship, signs to play baseball for RSU
Home is where the heart is.
When Claremore’s Matt Whatley takes his place behind the plate tonight in the Oklahoma Coaches Association Large School East-West All-State baseball game, the former Zebra catcher will be right at home.
Whatley, who started four years as the catcher for the Zebras, finds his final high school baseball game taking place in his future college ballpark.
Last November, Whatley and his long-time friend, Bryce Howe, signed NCAA Division I baseball scholarships to play for the Oral Roberts University Golden Eagles.
Tonight, those dreams come true for Whatley and Jenks outfielder Cadon Owens, who will be joining his former Bearcats teammate on the East squad. Also, Verdigris' Ryan Skalnik will start at third base for the Large East All-State team.
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