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Brown: County talent is all in the family

Posted: July 26, 2016 - 11:01pm

The CCRD 13- and 14-year-old baseball All-Stars are World Series-bound following their state title triumph.

This team is loaded with talent and loaded with players with ties to Columbia County baseball success.

The team’s catcher, Cade Combs, is the best example. His father, Jason, who also serves as the team’s head coach, was a part of two state titles at Evans in 1989 and 1990. Also his two uncles, Craig Combs and Ben Hayslip were key players on Evans’ first state title team in 1988. While Cade Combs has ties to the most Columbia County championships, he is not the only member of this year’s squad whose family members have won state championships at Columbia County high schools:

Nolan Short (CF, 1B, P): Nolan’s late uncle Mike Short just missed out on being a state champion when the Knights finished as runner-up to Forest Park in 1985. However, his father, Richy, was a part of title teams in 1989 and 1990 at Evans.

James Heramb-Eckert (SS, P): James’s uncle Michael Eckert was a key pitcher for the Knights during their title runs in both 1988 and 1989.

Avery Boyd (P, 1B, OF): Avery’s cousin Ben Morgan was a four-year starter at Georgia Southern following a stellar prep career at Greenbrier. He was a part of the Pack’s 2007 state championship squad.

While the Augusta metro area has seen plenty of baseball success, the area has also produced professional golfers:

Obviously Larry Mize, Charles Howell, Vaughn Taylor, Scott Brown and Kevin Kisner head the list, but we have also had more than a half dozen other players who have had success on the mini tours. Well, Luke List gives us another golfer to pull for due to local ties, and these ties are to Columbia County. No, List does not live in Columbia County. As a matter of fact, he has never lived in Columbia County. Instyead, he married his way in. This spring, List married Evans native Chloe Kirby. Kirby. Kirby graduated from Evans in 2008 and was the 2007 Homecoming Queen. After graduation, she moved to California to pursue an acting career. She starred in the 2013 film Safari and also had a part in Last Song in 2010, which was written by Nicholas Spark.

By the time Kirby was being crowned Homecoming Queen, List was already a household name with hardcore golf fans due to his stellar amateur career. He was the 2004 U.S. Amateur runner-up, earning a spot in the 2005 Masters. He finished T-33 in Augusta and would finish out his collegiate career as an All-American and three-time, All-SEC performer at Vanderbilt.

List turned pro in 2007 and has had moderate success on the mini-tours, but struggled in 2013 in his only year on the PGA Tour, missing 15 cuts in 24 starts. However, it appears 2016 will be his year to remember. The 31-year-old is back on the PGA Tour, has made 11 cuts, and has posted a pair of top-10 finishes (He finished T-14 on Sunday at the Canadian Open).

Apparently he is ­enjoying being a newlywed. List got off to a good start this season, and he and Kirby tied the knot in March in Augusta. He is enjoying – easily – his best year since turning pro in 2007. Currently, List is No. 118 on the money list, having earned more than $740,000. He is also No. 110 in the FedExCup standings.

Hopefully, we will see Chloe greenside following a List victory sometime soon.

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