On the brink of one last league title, the Pitman Pride boys tennis team saw their opportunity nearly slip away, or turn into a co-title share with their crosstown rivals Turlock High, who gave them a tough battle in their final meeting of the regular season. In the end the Pride prevailed, capturing their eighth and final Central California Conference title on Thursday afternoon and ousting their rivals, 7-2.
In the final year competing in the Central California Conference, both teams were consistently atop the standings with Pitman keeping its undefeated season alive throughout the end.
“They came back and pulled it out,” said Turlock head coach Jack Schneider about Thursday’s finale. “They have a great team and we were close.”
“I just want to say huge improvement in Turlock from last time we played them,” said Pitman head coach Jeff Hayes. “Five three setters in there, and we won seven pretty decisive matches last time.”
Pitman wraps up its seventh undefeated season in the CCC at 12-0 while Turlock follows in second at 10-2.
“This group of boys have a lot of fun, they are just not a real serious group and from outside might not look like they are in it, but they showed it after the match that they are very proud,” said Hayes.
From 2005-2012, Pitman won all but the 2007 CCC title — which went to Turlock. They then split the honors with Turlock in 2010.
From 2005-2018, the CCC title for boys tennis went to either Pitman or Turlock.
“I was talking to Jeff about that… it’s crazy,” said Schneider who won the last three CCC titles as head coach for Turlock. “I knew they had some good teams back then, Pitman did, and they had more depth throughout their lineup this year.”
The game started with a Pride win at the No. 1 singles, when Andrew Rosero topped Turlock’s Jack Greene, 6-3, 6-3.
No. 6 and No. 3 singles quickly ended as well with Pitman’s No. 3 Lorenz Lat capturing the win over Turlock’s Shayan Niakan, 6-7, 6-1, 6-3.
“I want to say Lorenz Lat at No. 3 dropped first set then won the second and pulled out the third set which was tight,” said Hayes. “Great match for him on his 18th birthday, quiet young man but putting a lot into the game and proud of him today.”
A total of five three set matches took place of the nine total matches.
One of the notable matches was at No. 4 singles where Pitman’s Royden Laia topped Turlock’s Trent Hulbert, 1-6, 7-6, 7-6.
Adrian Rosero at No. 2 singles topped Turlock’s Neema Rashidi, 7-5, 6-2; and Pitman’s No. 5 Robbie Boster topped Turlock’s Eidan Shabaz, 7-5, 6-3.
At one point, the game seemed closer as there was a second set tie breaker at No. 4 singles.
“At one point I was line judging and looking around and we are up 3-1, with five matches to go and down everywhere… so I’m just looking around,” said Hayes. “Both No. 1 and No. 2, the Rosero brothers, had a great effort, and nail biters all around, but proud of the boys, looking forward to getting more practice and rolling into playoffs.”
Pitman’s Ross Wheeler and Joey Silvera at No. 1 doubles topped Turlock’s Daniel Warda and Missael Vasquez, 3-6, 6-3, 10-5.
At No. 2 doubles, Pitman’s Brandon Beyers and Jason Eissayou beat Victor Pak and Ethan Lin, 3-6, 6-4, 10-7.
Turlock only won two matches, one in singles and the other at doubles.
No. 6 singles Warren Foote managed to stay undefeated as the senior topped Pitman’s Marcos Mendoza, 6-2, 7-5. Foote is 12-0 for the year.
No. 3 doubles Cam Sherwood and Jacob Putnam won their match in three sets, 6-2, 5-7, 10-8.
“I honestly thought we could have won four of six in singles, but Eden couldn’t close it out, Robbie came back and beat him, and Shayan battled back,” said Schneider.
Pitman is expected to advance the Rosero brothers and Lat to the singles tournament.
Turlock’s three singles players are still yet to be announced.
“For singles it’s not hundred sure, Jack and Neema for sure and not sure about the third spot but maybe Shayan or Warren who deserves a chance to challenge him for that last spot,” Schneider added.
CCC singles tournament will be held at Buhach Colony at 8 a.m. Tuesday.
The top three from the tournament will also advance to the Nor Cals tournament in Sacramento.