Baseball Headline Covers Hollobaugh’s Storybook Senior Season – Business Journal Daily
AKRON, Ohio — Cameron Hollobaugh lifted the Division IV state championship trophy as his Warren John F. Kennedy High School baseball teammates surrounded him Sunday night on the Canal Park field.
Celebration ensued for this Eagles team, basking in their first baseball title in school history. Holobaugh could see his father, Rob, in the stands wrapped up in the glorious moment for his son. But a day earlier, his father’s presence at the game seemed destined not to happen.
The Hollobaugh elder underwent what he thought was a routine operation on Friday, but some heart issues were discovered. As Rob recuperated on Saturday, he was forced to watch his son pitch in the state semifinal game on a webcast and not from the stands.
“God always knows what’s best,” Rob said. “He found my weakness before my weakness found the dirt.”
At 3:30 p.m. Sunday, Rob was released from medical attention and made the trip to Akron for the 6 p.m. contest. He will undergo further treatment this week which will lead to another surgery.
“I convinced the doctor that I would be more stressed [at home] than I would here,” he said. “I guess he figured that out.”
“He would give anything to see me play,” said Cameron, who will play football and baseball at Walsh University starting in the fall. “He did it today. It meant the world to me.”
Young Hollobaugh, an outstanding three-sport athlete in football, basketball and baseball at Warren JFK, had his introduction to baseball at an early age. When he was nine months old, his father gave him a plastic ball bat. Over the next two years, Hollobaugh would take that bat and consistently connect with a plastic ball.
Her father helped instill hand-eye coordination, her mother, Jodi, said. Young Cameron quickly slammed the plastic ball from his basement into an upstairs living room in the two-level family home.
“That’s all Cam wanted to do was play baseball,” Jodi said.
Most little boys gravitate to Matchbox cars and other toys. Cameron wanted to play baseball. At age 4, he was able to hit a ball thrown by his father while other boys were hitting a tee.
“This is [my father’s] love – baseball – and he granted me that,” Cameron Hollobaugh said. “It’s also my love.”
Consistency led Hollobaugh to one of the most successful high school years of any student-athlete in the Mahoning Valley. Its football team qualified for the state championship in Division VII, while the men’s basketball team was a regional runner-up in Division IV – one of the top eight teams in the state. Hollobaugh started playing football at age 7 and basketball in third grade.
“Whatever the sport, whatever the season, he loves that sport and plays others to maintain his skills,” said Jodi Hollobaugh.
Cameron Hollobaugh was the Division IV Defensive Player of the Year, delivering numerous hard-hitting tackles to the opposition, as well as rushing and passing for more than 2,100 yards last season to take JFK to the state championship game in December. He played quarterback, running back and linebacker.
Eagles head football coach Dominic Prologo said Hollobaugh’s leadership skills set him apart from most high school athletes, demanding excellence from himself and his teammates – something the senior of JFK will do for Walsh University’s football and baseball programs.
“Either the culture will change or Cam will find a place he can go where the culture matches who he is,” Prologo said. “He’s too competitive to go somewhere that won’t be as competitive as he is.”
The school’s boys’ basketball head coach, Mark Komlanc, said Hollobaugh never walked into a gym to just shoot a hoop. A competition would erupt on either a basketball court, a football field or a baseball field, a major element of the success JFK Sports has had in the 2020-21 school year.
The practice triggered not only the basketball team, but also the football and baseball teams. Hollobaugh’s teams won back-to-back district championships in basketball, but even changed the way the team trained to get more done in a short time because everything was similar to the speed seen on game days. .
Time was not spent repeating training habits over and over again as Hollobaugh quickly figured out what his trainers wanted and resolved any ongoing issues. The Division IV first-team player, an all-Ohio native, took it upon himself to raise the expectations of a handful of freshmen to be able to play and contribute at the college level.
“I don’t know if these guys would have progressed the way they did to be able to compete at the college level that we wanted if it wasn’t for Cam being so competitive in practice,” Komlanc said.
This innate drive boosted his teammates during the baseball season – crucial for a team that had just 11 players. Hollobaugh was the only team senior on the team, which had six freshmen, one sophomore and three juniors. These young players gravitated to the hard work ethic displayed by Hollobaugh.
The Eagles team peaked just as the postseason tournament began and won 12 straight games to claim Sunday’s state championship.
“He’s a winner,” JFK baseball head coach Jim Ciambotti said. “I think it rubs off on the kids. They admire him, he being the only senior. He led us in the right direction.
In addition to sports, Hollobaugh was a member of the National Honor Society, WJFK (the student-run broadcast program), and an entrepreneurship program.
“It will be very strange next year to have Kennedy teams without No. 9 there,” JFK manager Alyse Consiglio said.
For Hollobaugh, it wouldn’t have been the same if his father hadn’t been able to attend Sunday’s game. Rob Hollobaugh was visible to his son before the first pitch.
“It brightened my day, just seeing him smile at a baseball game,” Cameron said.
Pictured above: John F. Kennedy Catholic School senior Cameron Hollobaugh with his father Rob, sister Faith and mother Jodi.
Copyright 2022 The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.