At the start of Tuesday’s rivalry meeting between Pitman and Turlock high boys tennis teams, each squad was equal with one win each. At the end of the matches, the Pride walked away with their perfect record intact, and a 7-2 win over the Bulldogs, who fell to 1-1 in the teams’ first year competing in the newly formed Central California Athletic League.
Tuesday’s contest was a challenge for all players as the extremely windy afternoon saw winds reach well over 25 miles per hour.
“I think my players would rather play under water than the wind today, it was at times you couldn’t see the back court because it was a massive dirt field and blew right on to the court, it was awful,” said Pitman head coach Jeff Hayes.
“Worse conditions ever played, I played windy days, but the dust from the track and everything was so bad,” said Turlock head coach Jack Schneider. “It was a nightmare and had singles players thinking they could have won but they were mentally unprepared, they didn’t adjust.”
The Pride have now won 14 consecutive league matches going back to last season.
Pitman is coming off a perfect 12-0 season in league where they captured the final Central California Conference title.
Now they hope to win the new Central California Athletic League crown, but they first must get through some stiff competition.
Gregori and Turlock are expected to give the Pride a run for their money, but Pitman is quite capable of coming out on top.
From 2005-2012, Pitman won all but the 2007 Central California Conference title. Turlock won that one. They split the honors in 2010.
The CCC title for boys tennis went to either Pitman or Turlock from 2005-2018.
Now the new year has brought some challenges with it, including a roster that isn’t as deep as recent teams for Schneider and the Bulldogs.
“I knew this would be a tough year for us. We don’t have the big guns, I have Jack but he wasn’t as committed all summer,” said Schneider. “My top two doubles are getting destroyed so far, but we have some guys working hard. Cam Sherwood, that is a guy that keeps everything funny and keeps it all lively.”
Sherwood, who was the CCAL Most Valuable Player in basketball and a first team all-league selection in football, is a natural athlete and is No. 5 on the singles ladder. However, he is hoping to continue the progress.
“Cam is working his way up,” said Schneider. “Expectations not as high this year, but I want to see all of our guys get better throughout the year. Overall depth, we are not as deep.”
Pitman is anchored by the Rosero brothers.
Adrian and Andrew Rosero are returning and should be some of the top singles players in the CCAL heading into the new year.
They will also be the top two singles players for Hayes and the Pride. The list of players for Pitman this year include Royden Laia, Marcos Mendoza, Brenna Rodenberg and Enlil Iyasha on the singles side.
Pitman’s doubles teams consist of Brandon Beyers, Jason Eissayou, Sam Swanson, Andy Allen, Eli Smith and Alex Lopez.
“The boys have been out there practicing hard since November and playing well,” said Hayes. “Four new players in the lineup, lost about five seniors from last year. Last year’s team was definitely stronger but the boys are still improving so we will see how it goes. Every year we expect to be up there, can’t coach and not expect to get there. Matches will fall where they fall, sometimes kids get injured or sick, first match to Modesto we were down two players and down today, so we can work hard and hopefully all works out in our favor. Definitely hope to be in the top.”
Turlock (1-1) will next take on Gregori from home at 3 p.m. Thursday.
Pitman’s (2-0) next match will be at home against Enochs at 3 p.m. Thursday.