After an incredible MLP Daytona event, there were several impressive games and outstanding performances from the players. However, the standout player was Hayden Patriquen. Although he struggled at the previous tournament in Mesa, he redeemed himself by going 4-1 in men’s and 3-1 in mixed with AL waters, showing his versatility and skill on the court.
Hayden’s most impressive game was during the pool play match against the Hustlers, a rematch from MLP Mesa that came down to the wire. Hayden played with determination and secured a win, especially after Tyson made a comment in a post-game interview about not losing to kids. Hayden took the opportunity to troll Tyson, saying he doesn’t lose to old guys either, and dominated the match against Tyson and Rafa pretty much just bullying them for 21 points. Hayden also stepped up during the mixed game when the team was down 2-1 in the series and played with the dominate AL Waters that puts fear in Tysons eyes.
Unfortunately, Hayden and the 5’s run was stopped by BLQK, despite Hayden winning in the men’s category. They couldn’t pull out a mixed win to send it to a dream breaker.
Some people, including myself, had questioned the Pioneers’ lack of energy and a well-rounded singles line-up. However, they proved us wrong by winning all their pool play matches 4-0 except for a tough loss against BLQK in a 3-2 grind. Dylan Frazier played exceptionally well against Ben in singles, going 9-3, and he and Federico beat Ben and Tyler in men’s dubs. This set up a #1 vs #2 seed bracket, and everyone was eagerly anticipating a rematch between the Pioneers and BLQK in the finals.
In the finals, Benny Boy Johns showed why he’s considered the GOAT by taking over and winning a close men’s game. He then played in the second mix and led his team to victory with a 21-14 win. Overall, Ben Johns proved himself to be an outstanding player and solidified his status as the GOAT.
Clayton Boydston is a self proclaimed pickleball fanatic! A former semi-pro soccer player, he was looking for a new athletic outlet as he transitioned out of soccer. He discovered pickleball when he moved to Utah County in the summer of 2021. From the moment he stepped on the court he was addicted. He studied hours of professional pickleball matches, drilled for hours, and played matches every chance he got. He started as a 3.0 player and quickly advanced to the pro ranks. Clayton loves everything pickleball and loves writing about the latest news and events of this sport he loves.
He is also a pickleball instructor and of the founders of the Boydston Pickleball Academy where they teach beginners all the way up to advanced players.