ML boys put up good fight at state
Barr, King start strong, fall to St. Georges in Yakima competition
Just a few strokes, it seems, separated the Medical Lake boys’ doubles tennis team from another trophy at state.
At least that’s how head coach Justin Blayne saw it in their pivotal opening-round match against Chelan May 24.
After a solid 6-1 win in the opening set, the Card’s duo of Hunter Barr and Anton King had been on a hot streak that saw then enter state competition in Yakima with a 24-3 won-lost record through the previous four games.
“So when we hit the court and beat Chelan 6-1 in that first set I thought we were picking up right where we left off,” Blayne said. But from there it was a frustrating finish as Medical Lake fell 6-7, 3-6 to Frank Rosas and Dillon Morrison.
The 6-7 setback was a classic back-and-forth match, Blayne said. “You had this feeling that whomever wins this set is going to win the match.”
“Either we’re going to win it and be done with this match or have a heck of a third set on our hands,” Blayne said. “We were down and had some opportunities to break the opponent’s serve,” he said. “We weren’t able to win a couple of the key points – you know, add-in points at deuce – and wound up going down 6-7.”
After winning the first set an air of confidence set in. “I think the boys were confident – losing the second set in the fashion we did the momentum was lost and we weren’t able to regain what we had in that first set,” Blayne said.
The Chelan loss kicked the Cards into the consolation bracket against Granger in the double-elimination tournament.
Medical Lake won an abbreviated one-game pro-set match 9-7 over Trevor and Dakota Heitzman as rain forced the teams inside and scrambled the traditional schedule. The pro-set winner is the first one to eight game wins but that margin must be by two points.
“It was good that we survived that one, I felt we were the better team,” Blayne said.
Blayne saw no specific turning point but did note his duo led or was at least tied the entire contest. “We were just able to maintain that slight margin and withstood their pushes to overtake us.”
Next up was St. Georges out of Colbert, Wash. That match with the Dragons, whom Medical Lake lost to at the 1A/2B/1B regionals two weeks ago in Spokane, got started at about 7 p.m. It meant for a long day.
“I knew they were going to be a formidable opponent,” Blayne said. “We stuck right with them, it was neck and neck all the way.”
When there are two good teams and both are playing well, “Unfortunately one has to lose,” Blayne said of the match that got to 7-7 before the Cards fell 6-8 to Nathan Furbeyre and Peter Worrall.
Medical Lake finished 5-3 in the Northeast A and in second place. “As a team we definitely held our own in the league,” Blayne said. He returned to the head coaching role in 2013, taking over for Leroy Lemaster who retired following the 2012 season.
Paul Delaney can be reached at email@example.com.