Holoien, Newton turn Twins into contenders for fastpitch nationals

From the Victoria Star/Daily Gleaner

The Fredericton Coors Light Twins have officially joined the ranks of contenders by adding Dean Holoien and Bryan Newton to anchor their pitching staff at this summer’s Canadian senior men’s fastpitch nationals in Charlottetown.

If someone argues that Holoien, at 41, is “getting up there” in age, you can counter-point with the fact he was MVP at the ISC world championship as recently as last August. Newton has earned a reputation as a reliable workhorse and top seven or eight pitcher in the country. The addition of Newton was announced earlier.

But Newton alone wasn’t enough. No team can ride one arm all week – taxing weeks (often with rain delays or sweltering heat to contend with) where the eventual champion has to play up to 10 games to win it all.

So, in the ‘Go Big or Stay Home’ category, the Twins are bringing in Holoien – one of the most recognizable names in the game over the last two decades.

Holoien has been a member of four Canadian senior championship teams. In 2004, in fact, he pitched a no-hitter in the gold-medal final as the Saskatoon Aspen Black Sox beat the Vancouver Grey Sox 1-0 in St. Croix, N.S. Oh, yes, he also drove in the game’s only run in the bottom of the sixth inning.

Holoien was on the Canadian national team from 1992 to 2009. He was phased out this year as part of a youth movement, but there’s no question he’s still an elite-level pitcher and – just as important at this level – hitter.

He brings the Twins instant credibility and respect. He helps team officials convince potential sponsors “Hey, look at us, we’re serious about taking a run at this. You can be a part of this and benefit from the exposure.”

Alas, Holoien also brings added pressure for Fredericton to produce.

In past nationals, many Fredericton entries were easily dismissed. Teams could afford to save their ace for a bigger opponent, using their third-best pitcher to hand the N.B. reps a loss.

Now Holoien and Newton might have to go head-to-head with the likes of Todd Martin, Sean Whitten and Frank Cox – well-established guns of the game.

So even the one-two punch of Holoien and Newton doesn’t guarantee the Twins success, but at least they’re now part of the contender conversation.

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