Interview with Slammers Owner Mark Holzemer

By John Cackowski
State Director

Over the last 15 years the landscape of high school prep baseball has changed a lot. Now prep baseball is almost looked at as a year-round sport. The importance of playing in the summer, and now the fall for more opportunities for high school players to be seen by college coaches has grown immensely. Club Programs have grown across the country, as has Fall-Scout Teams.  There are many situations where some players will play on as many as 3 to 4 teams in one given season counting including their high school team.

In Colorado, one of the Pioneer Club Programs has been Slammers Baseball.  Slammers opened its doors in Lakewood, Co. in 1998. Going through many changes over the years, Slammers now works out of a 22,000 square foot facility in Englewood. Slammers is owed by Clint Zavaras, Mark Holzemer, and Billy Martin. Zavaras, a RHP, was a 3rd round draft pick of the Seattle Mariners out of Mullen High School in 1985, and played 6 years in the Majors from 1989 to 1993. Mark Holzemer also graduated from Mullen in 1987. Holzmer was a LHP drafted in the 4th round out of high school and would end up having a 15-year professional career, which included a MLB career from 1993 to 2000. Billy Martin played 4 years at the University of Texas and was drafted in the 24th round by the New York Mets. Martin was a 3-time minor league all-star with a career .285 batting average and 94 home runs. Martin played 8 years professionally at 4 positions.

Slammers started in 1998 as mostly an indoor training facility for high school players to receive pitching and hitting lessons. Now Slammers has teams that run from the 8U to the 18U level. One of those teams was coached by Mark Holzemer this summer. That team traveled a lot through the country and experienced a lot of success on a national level. When we recently released our 2016 rankings, The Slammers 16U Team had 7 of the top 10 players on its roster.  We recently sat down with Coach Holzemer to talk about the current high school landscape.

1. How did the idea of Slammers start?

Clint Zavaras was one of the original owners of “The Yard”, I would throw at this facility in the offseason and saw what was going on in regards to the prospects of being involved in a facility. Clint started Slammers in 1998 after leaving "The Yard" and based the operations out of their facility in Lakewood. Billy Martin worked out at the Lakewood site while he was still playing and got involved once he retired. The idea of getting to work with youth and high school players and teaching them the game of Baseball was very appealing to all involved.

2. Out of the 16 years you have owned Slammers, what are you the most proud of?

Our Relationships and growth of players. We enjoyed success at first, with a few kids committing to D1 schools, and now we have about 6-8 kids a year committing to D1 programs, and a majority of our other players go on to play at various other colleges. We’ve had a lot of great young men come through the program that have advanced to college and pro levels, but at the end of the day, it’s our relationships with players who did not play after high school that has been amazing. 

3. During this time, what have you learned the most, and what has been your biggest challenges?

That the importance of academics is the single most important thing that all of our players need to learn and what we have learned in trying to get them to the next level. Our biggest challenge is managing parents expectations.

4. Your 2016 team was loaded with talent this past season.  Looking back at this past season what are some memories that stood out?

The core of this team has been together since they were 10 years old. This team was the very first Slammers youth team at age 12 and we have kept these guys together throughout this process and now getting to see these kids getting college scholarships  (Bo Weiss-North Carolina, Maverick Handley-Stanford, Tommy Gillman-Texas A&M) with many more getting recruited and knowing that these guys will get to play in college has been very rewarding.

5. Slammers now has youth teams that start from the age of 8, and Slammers has teams at every level up to 18U. What are some of the things you do to create a positive baseball atmosphere in your program?

We try to create a family atmosphere at our facility with our youth teams. Our teams train together and build a tight bond and cheer for each other on the weekends and this has been great for us to experience.

6. A lot of people don’t realize you don’t just coach high school players, but you also coach a youth team. Both together take up an extreme amount of time. What do you enjoy most about coaching the youth players?

The youth kids are challenging and many times I take for granted that they should know things like the older guys but their energy and enthusiasm and their ability to soak up information is amazing. Being able to teach these players at a young age how to compete is something that we as coaches do not take for granted.

7. Please look at the following phrases and give me a one or two word reaction to each:

Slammers Baseball— Premier

Philosophy— Development

Underrated 2014 Slammers 16U Player— Ryan Vottiero

Assistant Coaches— Dedicated

Hardest Loss— lessons learned

Family— Loyal

Colorado Baseball— Growing and underrated


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