Last time Turlock and Pitman High met on the tennis court the Pride (9-0 CCC) defeated a Bulldog (7-2 CCC) team that was missing its top three singles players. On Tuesday the cross town rivals met once again, in their final matchup of the season, to decide who would claim this year’s Central California Conference championship.
This time around the Bulldogs had their number one and two singles players, racquet in hand and ready to play. In the end it didn’t make much difference, however, as Pitman defeated Turlock 6-3 in a nearly identical performance as their last meeting.
“It clinched the league title for us, which is always good,” Pitman’s head coach Jeff Hayes said of Tuesday’s victory. “I’m extremely proud of these boys. I’m glad they haven’t squandered the opportunity to excel.”
Turlock entered the match with a unique strategy, teaming up its number two and three singles players for the number one doubles match. With this move the Bulldogs hoped to sweep the doubles matches and rely on its singles players to provide the rest of the points.
The plan didn’t work. Pitman won all but one singles match and the team victory belonged to the Pride before doubles competition even began.
Michael Davis, Michael Lazar, Morcos Boutros, Brach Malek, and Luis Valasquez won their singles matches for Pitman and the team of Adrian Leven and Broniel Azof took Pitman’s sole doubles victory. Davis’ match against Turlock’s number one Scott Grey was uniquely impressive as Davis managed to edge out an opponent who had given him trouble in the past in convincing fashion, 6-2 and 6-1.
“Davis was prepared for this match both mentally and physically,” Hayes said.
As for Turlock, Brandon Purdy was the lone singles victor as Kemi Asgill and Kyle O’Conner won the first doubles match and Aldair Lima and Ricardo Lopez won the second doubles match.
Pitman’s seventh CCC title victory is a bittersweet one for the Pride as it comes in Hayes’ last season as Pitman’s head coach. Even though his departure is getting closer by the day, Hayes is till focusing on finishing this season.
“We have one match left to go against the winless Buhach team; then it’s a matter of seeing how well we do in playoffs,” Hayes said. “I want to see the boys peaking in the next few weeks.”
Pitman’s players will have next week off for spring break before finishing league competition on April 17 against Buhach Colony High (0-9 CCC).