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Things Work Out in Jacksonville

Things work out

Jacksonville, AL – Jacksonville’s Hammack, Sawyer and Peeler find their opportunity to compete in college … or, more like, opportunity found them.

By Joe Medley

A day on the virtual range led to Reagan Hammack’s chance to play college golf.

Gavin Peeler and girlfriend Lizah Sawyer found their way to compete for the same college.

All three participated in Wednesday’s group signing in the Jacksonville High School library. Hammack, an All-Calhoun County golfer, signed with Mississippi University for Women. Sawyer, a Universal Cheerleaders Association All-American, and Peeler, an all-county baseball player, signed with Brewton-Parker College.

File all three stories under, “Funny How Things Work Out.”

Hammack and her dad went to Hoover for a swing analysis and practice at a virtual driving range. Robert Ford, an acquaintance of “The W” golf coach Benji Williams’, approached Hammack.

“He (Ford) was like, ‘He (Williams) has a girls’ golf team, which he’s trying to find some girls for this year,’” Hammack said. “He was like, ‘I want to know if you’re interested.’

“I was like, ‘Absolutely.’”

That led to a chance for Hammack to tour campus and play with some of Williams’ players on the driving range. Williams watched at a distance.

“I didn’t know he was doing that,” Hammack said. “It was kind of like, he was getting to see me in my normal environment and how I acted while playing without me knowing.”

After watching Hammack from afar, Williams met her in the parking lot and offered her.

“I was like, ‘That’s awesome,’” Hammack said.

Hammack said she’s looking to take a “big jump” in her game on the next level. At Jacksonville, she finished 14th at the Calhoun County Tournament and made all-county (top 15).

“She’s come a long way in her golfing abilities,” Jacksonville coach Jason Walker said. “She ended her high school career with several victories in matches and played really well in tournaments she played in.”

Peeler and Sawyer say they’ve been a couple for about a year, but it wasn’t a lock that they would go to college together until Brewton-Parker College came into the picture.

“The baseball coach reached out to me, and she just applied,” Peeler said. “Within an hour, the cheer coach there called. We went to go visit, and they offered us on the same day.

“It’s really just coincidence.”

Sawyer said she and Peeler applied at many of the same schools.

“It worked out with this one,” she said.

Jacksonville coach Jamison Edwards touted Peeler’s work ethic as a key factor in how much Peeler progressed as a catcher.

“Probably nobody has taken more physical and verbal abuse in their six years with us,” Edwards said. “He just stayed the course, and he set goals and then worked to achieve them, and we are unbelievably proud of what he’s been able to accomplish.”

Jacksonville cheer coach Nanci Morales called Sawyer “a great leader and a great teammate.”

“We’re very proud of her,” she said.

Photo gallery by Joe Medley

Jacksonville High’s Reagan Hammack (left), Gavin Peeler and Lizah Sawyer sign during Wednesday’s ceremony in the school’s library.
Jacksonville’s Reagan Hammack (left), Gavin Peeler and Lizah Sawyer celebrated their college signings at a Wednesday ceremony in the school’s library.
Jacksonville High golfer Reagan Hammack with family and family friends during Wednesday’s ceremony in the school’s library.
Jacksonville High’s Lizah Sawyer and Gavin Peeler (center) during Wednesday’s signing ceremony in the school’s library.
Lizah Sawyer with family during Wednesday’s signing ceremony at Jacksonville High School.

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