Two-time U.S. Olympian John Hyden and former professional baseball player Ryan Doherty took second place at the FIVB Beach Volleyball World Tour event on Sunday in Olsztyn, Poland.
Hyden, at 44 the oldest player competing in Olsztyn, is playing with the 7-foot-1 Doherty in their first season together. They were seeded 13th coming into the tournament and made it all the way to the finals before falling 2-1 to German Olympians Markus Bockermann and Lars Fluggen by scores of 21-15, 18-21 and 11-15.
The second-place result matches Doherty’s best-ever finish, which he accomplished in 2014 with then-partner Nick Lucena. Doherty joined the FIVB tour in 2013 but never played volleyball in college at Notre Dame, where he pitched for the university’s baseball team before playing in the Arizona Diamondbacks organization for three years.
Doherty and Hyden teamed together after Hyden’s partner Tri Bourne disclosed in February that he needed to take time off because of health issues.
In women’s action, five-time Olympian Kerri Walsh Jennings and 2008 Olympian Nicole Branagh reached the bronze-medal match, but their tournament ended there with a forfeit. Walsh Jennings, who won three Olympic gold medals with Misty May-Treanor and one bronze medal with April Ross, dislocated her shoulder during the team’s 2-1 semifinal loss to Canada’s Sarah Pavan and Melissa Humana-Paredes on Saturday.
The duo finished the semifinal match but forfeited Sunday’s bronze-medal match.
This is the second incarnation of Walsh Jennings and Branagh, who first paired from 2009 through 2011. This weekend’s result was their best finish of the FIVB World Tour season so far in their three tournaments.Gary R. Blockus is a journalist from Allentown, Pennsylvania who has covered multiple Olympic Games. He is a freelance contributor to TeamUSA.org on behalf of Red Line Editorial, Inc.