Mt. Vernon's Journey to Joliet

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By WSIL Sports

SAUGET -- Mt. Vernon players wasted no time celebrating with their coach after beating Bloomington at Tuesday's Super-Sectional in Sauget. Players surprised Tim Holloway, dousing him with shaving cream and a cooler of water.

"With this winning stuff, I guess I'm going to get attacked a few times but I'll take it, I'll take it any day," Holloway said.

Mt. Vernon scored six runs and got a complete game three-hitter from senior pitcher Tyler Ellis to knock off the Purple Raiders. It's the first time the Rams have made the final four in baseball.

"It means a lot," Rams senior outfielder Clayton Reeves said. "I think it means the most to coach. He's been going at it for awhile and he seems pretty excited so this one was for him."

Holloway is in his 12th year coaching the Rams. The Mt. Vernon native graduated in 1994 and has been part of the program for more than two decades. He was an assistant on the 2001 team that made it to the elite eight.

"Those guys went on a great run," Holloway said. "We had some good pitching and some tough kids. They had a great year but ran into Bradley Bourbonnais and came up short.

"This year, knowing we're going to bring home a trophy is a good feeling."

Mt. Vernon hasn't trailed in its five postseason games this year and has outscored opponents 26-3 in that stretch.

"We always knew we had the potential, it's just whether or not we put it all together," Ellis said.

"Our guys have played good competition, they feel like they can go up there and win this thing," Holloway added.

"Like coach said, we're going to win," Reeves said. "We're just going with the same approach, quality at-bats, good defense and we'll see what we can do up north."

The Rams will play the home town team in the semifinals. Joliet Catholic is 23-14 this season and has been to the final four three out of the last five years.
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