Bringing Back the Hammer

Kinkaid boys golf set up for three straight SPC titles

Kinkaid’s chances of going back-to-back-to-back as SPC Champions are better than ever Vype

Kinkaid boys golf has won five of the last six SPC championships, but had to complete the 2017 run without Texas-signee Cole Hammer.

Hammer played his first two high school seasons with the team, but elected to go the homeschool route as a junior to recover from a lingering elbow injury.

Luckily for both parties, Hammer’s back to his dominant self, and Kinkaid’s chances of going back-to-back-to-back as SPC Champions are better than ever.

“It was a pretty easy decision to rejoin the Kinkaid golf team,” Hammer said. “We had so much success in the past that it was really important to me to go back and finish my senior year strong.”

Another reason Hammer couldn’t wait to get back was the bond he’d developed with his teammates. That’s most noticeable with juniors Will Jacobe and Mason Nome, as well as senior Johnny Butler, because he’s played with them longer than he can remember.

Hammer kept in touch with them during his time away from the team, so they were some of the first people to know about his return.

“He had started talking to me early,” Jacobe said. “He was like, ‘There’s a 50/50 chance I come back to Kinkaid.’ And right when he told me that, I was like, ‘You need to come [back]’. I tried to tell him that every day.”

“He made his decision early in the summer, and I was really excited because I love playing with him,” Jacobe added.

Kinkaid coach Bobby Eggleston had to reshuffle his lineup when Hammer told him about the return, but it was a good challenge to have.

Eggleston ultimately gave the 2016 SPC individual champ the top spot, and featured a strong two and three in Nome and Jacobe, who finished second and fourth in 2017.

“We were disappointed when he decided to take a year off, but very excited when he decided to come back,” said Eggleston. “He brings so much to our team, score-wise, but also how he handles himself on and off the course.”

Even with the change, the Falcons retained a strong starting five. Butler, their No. 4, also had experience from last year’s SPC tournament and has already picked up a win in 2018.

“Ever since then, he’s had that feeling that he can go low,” Eggleston said. “He’s been with our team for four years, and he’s really solidified the bottom part of the lineup.”

There’s also an up-and-comer in sophomore Bain Williams, so the group will be hard to beat at this spring’s final.

“This is definitely our strongest team so far,” said Jacobe. “I’m very confident that we will win the tournament if we play the golf that we should.”

This article appears in the April issue of VYPE Magazine. Pick up your copy at any one of our locations today!

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Houston couldn't keep up

Astros fall to Blue Jays as Toronto gets homer-happy

Houston's bats couldn't keep up with Toronto's Saturday night. Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

With an offensive clinic in the opener on Friday night, which helped them handily defeat the Blue Jays, the Astros returned to Minute Maid Park Saturday with a chance to secure another series. Toronto had other plans, though, reversing roles with Houston by getting big home runs to even the series.

Final Score: Blue Jays 8, Astros 4

Astros' Record: 17-16, third in the AL West

Winning Pitcher: Steven Matz (5-2)

Losing Pitcher: Cristian Javier (3-1)

Toronto flips the script and turns on their offense against Javier

Toronto flipped the script from the night before early in this middle game of the series, dealing damage to Cristian Javier, who so far in 2021 had been able to limit his amount of earned runs. After retiring the first four batters he faced, a one-out walk in the top of the second set up the Blue Jays' first hit of the night, a two-run home run by Cavan Biggio, giving them a 2-0 lead over Houston.

After a leadoff home run made it a 3-0 score, Javier would deal with the fallout of more walks in the top of the third, issuing two to set up a two-out two-RBI double to give the Jays a commanding 5-0 advantage. Javier would battle back and complete five full innings, getting one out into the sixth before a walk would prompt Dusty Baker to make the call to the bullpen. His final line: 5.1 IP, 4 H, 5 ER, 4 BB, 8 K, 2 HR, 91 P.

Alvarez keeps mashing as Houston tries to claw back into it

Javier would exit with at least some runs on the board in support of him, with Yordan Alvarez hitting a two-run opposite-field homer in the bottom of the fourth to cut the lead to three runs. Alvarez accounted for another run in the next inning, coming through with an RBI-single to make it 5-3, which is where the game stood as Andre Scrubb would take over in the top of the sixth.

Scrubb finished that inning for Javier and returned for a 1-2-3 seventh to keep it a two-run game. Bryan Abreu was the next reliever, and he, too, was able to retire the Blue Jays in order in the top of the eighth. The Astros continued to chip away at Toronto's lead, getting another run in the bottom of the inning on an RBI by Yuli Gurriel to make it 5-4 heading to the ninth.

Toronto evens the series

Brooks Raley entered to try and keep it a one-run game with a clean inning, but instead, two runners would reach on a walk and error before Joe Smith would enter to try and strand them. Instead, a two-out home run put the game back out of reach at 8-4, with Houston coming up empty in the bottom of the inning, setting up a rubber match in the finale.

Up Next: This series's third and final game will be an afternoon start of 1:10 PM Central on Sunday. Zack Greinke (2-1, 3.76 ERA) will try to add more wins to his record for Houston, while Nate Pearson will be making his 2021 debut for Toronto.

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