The memory is still fresh for Pitman High boys tennis coach Jeff Hayes. Last season, his Pride traveled to Armijo High for a Sac-Joaquin Section Division I Tournament quarterfinal match. That’s where his team’s postseason run ended.
“It was the worst playing condition,” he explained.
The tennis courts at Armijo High aren’t ideal, as Hayes says they curve into each other and the ground level appears to be uneven. They’re also located next to a busy four-lane road, the players added.
Also that day last year, it was windy. All those factors influenced the Pride’s demise in the postseason, the team said.
Now, the Pitman tennis players have a second chance. The Pride will play the Indians, who are the No. 1 seed in the Monticello Empire League, in Monday’s Section quarterfinal match at 3:30 p.m. at the same fateful location of last year’s defeat. A win will continue the Pride’s hopes of making a deep postseason run, such as the one they accomplished two years ago that ended in a Section final appearance.
But the Pride will be at a disadvantage.
One of their best singles players, Michael Davis, is still recovering from an ankle sprain he suffered during the championship match of the Central California Conference Tournament last month — one in which he had to retire early to reigning champion Scott Gray of Turlock High. But Davis still managed to win his singles match in Pitman’s 8-1 win over West High on Tuesday in the second round of the Section tournament, though he didn’t move very much around the court throughout the afternoon, showing his ability to dominate with just one good foot.
Other key singles players are Morcos Boutros and Michael Lazar, who round out the top three for the Pride. They’re part of a deep team that hopes to repeat Pitman’s 2009 success of reaching the Section’s final before losing to Davis Sr. High.
After earning the top seed in the CCC, the Pride are only league team left in the postseason after No. 2 Turlock lost 5-4 to St. Mary’s High and No. 3 Atwater High lost 7-2 to Tracy High in the first round.
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