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Hammond High School
Columbia

By Chris Dearing

Special Contributor

Columbia - The fact that Hammond baseball is the defending state champions might be very discouraging to the rest of the league as the 2020 season gets underway.

The Skyhawks return much of that talent from last season’s team.

 “One thing I had to sit down and tell them was nobody can take 2019 away from them. Now let’s go win it again in 2020,” Hammond coach Chris Braciszewski said. “We were young last year but I’ve seen a different mentality in the preseason this year. The same hunger is there but they have a worker harder mentality and that’s good to see.”

Reece Holbrook, a UNC commitment, is back for his senior season. He’s gotten bigger and stronger in the offseason and could be in line for a huge final campaign as he will see most of his time in centerfield.

Tucker Toman has yet to play this season due to the basketball year just ending, but the talented third baseman/pitcher is on track that he could be drafted high in the major league draft in 2022. He de-committed from Oregon and has now verbally committed to LSU but depending on how the scouts see him, he might never step foot on a college campus.

One scout said at the end of last season that his bat speed and ability in the field is what sets him apart from most players his age.

Brig Brannon is back at catcher. He had a solid season last year and is a defensive stalwart behind the plate. His ability to handle a talented pitching staff is also key.

If Toman is healthy, he would likely be the top starter on the mound. But there is talent behind him. Wilson McCall, Jack Weston, Blake Weinbach, and Coley Brown all are talented arms that will play a factor.

That same group of pitchers will see time in the field as well. Mason Harrington, Harris Jackson, and Jett Seawell will be huge contributors as well.

Wrestling. The Skyhawks won their second straight Class AAA state championship with a 50-30 win over Ben Lippen in early February.

“Going back-to-back was hard,” Hammond coach Austin Hood said. “We had a very different team from last year and had some young kids really step up.”

Standouts for Hammond included Jamison Phillips (195), Jake Lalumondier (220), Parker Drake (113), Sam DuBose (120), William Gaines (120), Leo Addeo (132), Harper Meacham (138), Ryan Kane (160), Aiden Palisin (170) and Owen Hales (170/182).

DuBose, Addeo, Meacham, Hales, and Phillip all won individual state championships.    

Basketball ending. The boys and girls basketball season ended up short of playing for a state championship.

The boys saw their season end in a 50-34 loss to eventual state champion Cardinal Newman in the state semifinals. Football stars Jordan Burch and Alex Huntley were the leaders on the hardwood as well.

The girls season ended in the state quarterfinals with a loss to Florence Christian. Tyra Myers and Lauren Scott combined to average nearly 39 points a game between them.

 

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