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HomeProfessionalGoin' pro: Chirico, Holderbach sign baseball contracts with Florence Y'alls

Goin’ pro: Chirico, Holderbach sign baseball contracts with Florence Y’alls

By Matt Present. BOONE, N.C. — Right-handed pitcher Dante Chirico and first baseman Drew Holderbach from App State have signed professional baseball contracts with the Florence Y’alls.

The Y’alls compete in Florence, Ky., and are a member of the Frontier League, an independent professional baseball league that operates as one of Major League Baseball’s partner leagues.

“I’m thrilled for Dante and Drew,” head coach Kermit Smith said. “They are two guys who love the game and have an opportunity to continue their career. They will make the most of this opportunity and will no doubt continue to give their all. It’s a great day to be a Mountaineer.”

Chirico pitched in 36 games for the Mountaineers across two seasons and was a member of the Mountaineers’ weekend rotation in 2024. The righty went 4-2 with a 6.25 ERA this past season, striking out 59 batters in 67.2 innings of work while holding opponents to a .240 batting average.

A native of Chapin, S.C., Chirico’s season was highlighted by tossing seven innings in a combined one-hitter against South Alabama on May 2. Two weeks later, Chirico fired a career-high eight innings in App State’s win over Old Dominion. In his final outing in a Black and Gold uniform, Chirico retired the first 12 batters he faced, including seven strikeouts, in the Sun Belt Tournament against Troy on May 22.

“It means the world to me to have the opportunity to be able to come and compete with the Y’alls,” Chirico said.

Dante Chirico on the mound for Boone Bigfoots in June 25 win vs. Martinsville Mustangs.
Dante Chirico, pitching for the Boone Bigfoots. Photographic image by David Rogers for High Country Sports

Holderbach started all 55 games at first base for the Mountaineers in 2024, in his lone season in the High Country. The Fairfield, Ohio, native slashed .321/.465/.550 with 19 doubles, nine home runs and 48 RBIs. Holderbach reached base safely in each of the first 43 games of the season, the second-longest on-base streak in program history. He finished the season tied for fifth in the Sun Belt in doubles (19), sixth in runs scored (64), and fourth in hit by pitch (19). He also finished eighth in single-season program history for runs scored and tied for 10th in single-season doubles.

Holderbach registered 19 multi-hit games and 14 multi-RBI games. In the power department, the Rice transfer hit a go-ahead, two-run home run at Texas State on March 17 for the longest App State home run in the TrackMan era, traveling 465 feet. He also blasted a go-ahead, three-run home run in seventh inning of an elimination game against Coastal Carolina on May 23 to help the Mountaineers advance in the Sun Belt Tournament. Defensively, Holderbach committed just three errors in 395 chances for a team-best .993 fielding percentage.

“I couldn’t be more excited to start my professional career,” Holderbach said. It is great to be able to play at the next level.”

The duo joins Jeffrey Springs (Tampa Bay Rays), Chandler Seagle (Padres, Triple-A), Kaleb Bowman (Brewers, Double-A), Jack Hartman (Rays, High-A), Xander Hamilton (Twins, Single-A) and Jaylin Davis (American Association) as former Mountaineers playing professional baseball.

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