Tag Archives: John Holdzkom

Kiwi Pride World Wide. Lincoln Holdzkom Helped Baseball Gain Popularity in New Zealand

I had gotten to know John Holdzkom after he was picked up by the Pirates from indy ball.  Part of his story includes a stint playing baseball with his brother Lincoln in New Zealand.  Thanks to their father’s Kiwi heritage, they were eligible to participate with their national team, the Diamondblacks.

New Zealand Diamondblacks Baseball Portraits, 2 November 2012
Brothers Lincoln Holdzkom (L) and John Holdzkom, New Zealand Baseball team headshots, portraits and team photo sesison. Howick-Pakuranga Baseball Grounds, Lloyd Elsmore Park, Auckland. 2 November 2012. Photo: William Booth/photosport.co.nz

I originally started a draft of this article over a year ago, but at the time I didn’t know what direction I wanted to go in and pushed it to the back burner; However, this past weekend, Lincoln Holdzkom was tragically killed in a car accident in California at the age of 33.

Lincoln was passionate about baseball and about bringing the sport he loved to New Zealand. He was looking forward to going back and helping baseball grow in his father’s home country. Now I want to share some of that passion with my readers. Lincoln, this post is for you!

Although baseball is considered a minority sport in New Zealand, it has been gaining popularity over the last decade.

Baseball New Zealand, the governing body of the sport of baseball in New Zealand, was founded in 2002. Their membership is comprised of five Regions (Member Regions), three Baseball Associations, and eight Clubs as well as the individual members who play, coach, officiate and support Baseball in New Zealand. They have estimated that more than 5,000 individuals participate in competitive and recreational Baseball programs in various capacities around the country, and that number is growing each year.

In 2012, the Diamondblacks were  invited to a regional qualifier for the World Baseball Classic for the first time. When John found out and realized that the brothers would be eligible to play, he sent off an email to Ryan Flynn, the organization’s chief executive and chief talent scout for the Diamondblacks.  After seeing that John was 6’7″ with a 101 mph fastball, Flynn answered him back within 15 minutes to work out the details on bringing the brothers down under.

Lincoln, who hadn’t played professional baseball for a number of years, jumped at the chance to play for the Diamondblacks. He quit his job to be able to join the team while they trained and played in New Zealand, Australia and Taiwan.

Lincoln’s hard work, competitiveness and talent helped him become an integral part of the 2012 Diamondblacks team. He quickly became a leader and someone everyone, including the coaching staff, looked to for experience and leadership.

The 2012 team came within a game of qualifying for the main draw and are looking to go even further next year. Lincoln was expected to be the captain of the pitching staff in February’s WBC qualifier in Sydney.

In an article with Baseball New Zealand, Diamondblacks’ manager, Chris Woodward, called Lincoln Holdzkom the “heart and soul” of the team’s pitching staff.

“This is a huge loss for the Holdzkom family, for so many who have known and loved Lincoln, and of course for our baseball community in New Zealand,” Flynn said from New York earlier today. “Lincoln cared as much as anyone in the program about the health of the sport in our country, its growth and success, and he took a great deal of pride in wearing the black and white of New Zealand and being a Diamondblack. He was a role model for our younger players, especially on the pitching staff. Lincoln Holdzkom will always be an important member of Baseball New Zealand’s past, present and future.”

The team plans to honor Lincoln in various ways during the WBC qualifiers and beyond.

I would like to offer my condolences to John, the entire Holdzkom family, the New Zealand baseball community, and everyone that Lincoln has touched in some way. Rest in peace, Lincoln. #KiwiPrideWorldWide

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Where Are They Now? Player Updates

Recently, a follower of this site sent me an email asking if I could provide an update about how some of the players I had previously covered are doing.

As the halfway mark of the season has approached, here are the updates of 18 players that I have covered on Indy Ball Island. (Clicking their names will take you to their original articles.)

John Holdzkom – In my very first blog post, I remarked that John Holdzkom’s story was the reason I wanted to start this website. John is currently on the DL for the second time this year. He has spent the entire season with the Pirates Triple A team, the Indianapolis Indians. After getting off to a rough start, he is 2-0 on the season with a 3.38 ERA and 27 Ks in 21.1 IP.

indyholdzkom

(Mark Dickhaus)

Matt Sergey – Another personal post I made early on was covering Matt Sergey’s perfect game for the Washington Wild Things. Matt is back with the Wild Things for the 2015 season. In 9 starts, he is 3-3 with a 2.33 ERA. He has already passed his career-high professionally for innings pitched (54) and has 59 Ks.

Chris Peacock – After being signed in the offseason by the Pittsburgh Pirates, Peacock was released and then returned to the American Association, this time with the St. Paul Saints. He has a 1.59 ERA with a 1-0 record in 11 games.

Three of the players that I covered from the Pecos League TV show are playing this season :

Tony Smith – Tony was traded right before the season started from the Schaumburg Boomers of the Frontier League to the Winnipeg Goldeyes in the American Association.  He is 2-1 with a 3.41 ERA in 16 games (2 of which were starts).  He has 33 K in 37 IP.

Sam DiMatteo – Sam is playing with the Old Orchard Beach Surge of the newly formed North Country Baseball League.  He is batting .344 in 23 games (102 plate appearances).  He also has 2 HR, 16 RBI and 9 stolen bases.

Jacob Fabry – Jacob is once again teammates with Sam and has been playing on the Surge as well. He is batting . 296 in 26 games (129 plate appearances).  He has contributed 12 RBI and stolen 8 bases so far this season.

sam and jacob

(Sam DiMatteo. Sam took a ball off his ankle.. he’ll be okay!)

Tim Henry – Another one of the Pecos League stories, Tim is back with the Alpine Cowboys in the Pecos League for the 2015 season. In 42 games (118 AB), he has a .246 average with 2 HR and 21 RBI.

Omar Artsen – Omar was signed by the Miami Marlins out of the Pecos League last year; However he was eventually released by the Marlins organization.  He then went to the American Association and played 2 games with the Winnipeg Goldeyes going 1-7 at the plate.  After being released from the Goldeyes, he played for the Garden State Grays in the Can-Am league for only 3 games with 1 H in 8 AB.

Brandon Cunniff – After earning his second chance at affiliated ball with the Braves, Brandon never looked back. This year, Brandon started the season in the bullpen for the Atlanta Braves. He set an Atlanta rookie record when he didn’t allowed a hit in four relief appearances (four innings) to start his major league career. Brandon has a 2-2 record, 4.23 ERA and 30 K in 30 games with the big league club. At one point in the season, he was sent to AAA Gwinnett where he has a 1-0 record in 3 games. He has since returned to the big league club but is currently on the major league 15 day DL for a groin strain.

brandon-cunniff-braves-pic

(emspeedtraining.com)

Javy Marticorena – Javy achieved his dream of landing on Indy Ball Island when he signed a contract to play in the Mt Rainier League.  Sadly, the MRPBL folded after just a few weeks, and Javy is back home working hard for another opportunity.

Nick Renault – Nick, like Javy, was caught up in the MRPBL drama, but he still made the most of his few weeks being back in his hometown in Oregon and enjoyed his short stay. He is now back home in Hawaii.

CJ Beatty – CJ used his never give up attitude to bounce back after being released from the White Sox organization at the beginning of the season.  He came back to the Washington Wild Things in the Frontier League and is batting .262 in 42 games with 2 HR and 21 RBI.  CJ will have to use his positive attitude once more to get through another tough situation as he now finds himself on the DL with a quad injury.

CJ

(CJ Beatty)

Al Yevoli – Al was picked up by the Arizona Diamondbacks after the 2015 Frontier League season, but was released during spring training.  Instead of returning to the Wild Things, Al landed a spot with the Wichita Wingnuts in the American Association.  He has a 3-0 record with a 3.67 ERA and 26 K in 26 games (27 IP).

Stewart Ijames – Stewart started the season with the High A Visalia Rawhide for the Arizona Diamondbacks. After batting .267 with 15 HR and 37 RBI in 60 games, he was promoted to the Double A Mobile BayBears. In 14 games (31 AB), he is batting .323 with 1 HR (his first hit in AA) and 7 RBI.

Matt Fields – After being released from the KC Royals organization, Matt was signed by the Diamondbacks and was sent to Double A Mobile BayBears. In 3 games (11AB) so far, he is batting .364 with 1 HR.

mobile

(Matt Fields)

Sean Conroy – After making news as baseball’s first openly gay active player, Sean is still doing well with the Sonoma Stompers of the Pacific Association. He has a 2-1 record with a 0.69 ERA including 24 K in 26 IP in 10 games (2 starts).

Aussie in America updates

Luke Wilkins – Luke is currently 4-2 with a 2.80 ERA starting in 10 games for the Washington Wild Things. He has struck out 35 in 61 IP. His 61 innings pitched are the most on the Wild Things team.

2015-05-21 22.44.41

Ben Lodge – In 37 games (130 AB) with the Frontier Greys, Ben is batting .208 with 8 RBI.

Stay tuned and subscribe for more updates as the season progresses!