CHARLOTTE, N.C. — A trio of Walters State baseball players were named to the 2019 NJCAA Division I Baseball All-American Teams earlier this week, the National Junior College Athletic Association announced Tuesday.
Sophomore pitcher Alex Haynes was named to the First Team, while freshman designated hitter Bryce Hodge was selected to the Third Team and freshman infielder Jerry Hammons was named an Honorable Mention All-American.
Haynes was recently taken in the 15th round of the Major League Baseball Draft by the Colorado Rockies with the 459th pick. Haynes, a University of Tennessee commitment, will return to the scene of his final Walters State appearance after signing with Colorado, as the Rockies’ rookie team is stationed in Grand Junction, Colorado, home of the JUCO World Series.
Haynes was named the TCCAA’s Pitcher of the Year after a sparkling sophomore campaign. The Knoxville native racked up a 9-2 record with a 2.50 earned run average, and his two losses were both complete-game efforts on the road in a 2-1 loss to two-time defending national champion and then No. 1 ranked Chipola and a 1-0 loss at Georgia Highlands. In those two losses, he surrendered just one earned run on eight hits while striking out eight in 12 innings.
Haynes did not allow more than three runs in a game during the regular season, and in his last nine regular season starts, eight of which came in TCCAA play, he has allowed just four earned runs in 46 innings pitched. For the year, he scattered 52 hits in 82 2/3 innings, allowing 32 runs (23 earned) while fanning 114 batters and walking 31. He tossed six complete games, including a shutout of Motlow State with 14 strikeouts in his last regular season start to sew up the TCCAA title.
Haynes was part of a sophomore class that compiled a 114-19 record in two seasons, won two Tennessee Community College Athletic Association regular season titles, two TCCAA/NJCAA Region VII Tournament crowns, two NJCAA East Central District championships, made two JUCO World Series appearances, played in the 2018 NJCAA national championship game and finished third in the 2019 World Series.
Hodge finished second on the team in homers with 14, while driving in 68 runs, batting .410 for the season and posting a .483 on-base percentage. He scored 60 times, had 86 hits, which included 16 doubles.
Hammons was third on the team in home runs with 12, while driving in 58 runs, smacking a team-high 89 hits, scoring a team-best 76 runs and roping a team-high 20 doubles on the year. He batted .387 and his on-base percentage was .437 for the year while also stealing 11 bases.
All-America selections are made by the NJCAA Division I Baseball Committee.