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Turlock bests Pitman to remain undefeated
Pitman High’s Michael Davis had a competitive tennis match with Turlock High’s Scott Gray in the No. 1 singles match on Thursday, though Davis came up short. Davis is the first player in the Central California Conference to take Gray to three sets. - photo by CHHUN SUN / The Journal
The stands behind the fence of the Turlock High tennis courts were filled with spectators on Thursday afternoon as the Bulldogs hosted their annual rivalry meeting against Pitman High. There was plenty to admire with nine matches going on.
“That’s what the stands are for,” Turlock coach Juan Alaniz said.
But one match in particular caught everyone’s attention.
That was the No. 1 singles showdown between Turlock’s Scott Gray and Pitman’s Michael Davis. It was a competitive match that spanned about two hours long, with Gray finally taking it 3-6, 6-2, 6-2 to highlight the Bulldogs’ 8-1 win over the Pride to remain undefeated at 4-0 in the Central California Conference.
In the process, Gray was crowned the king of the league — for now.
Davis dropped to 3-1, but the two have plenty of tennis between them before their high school careers end. Both are sophomores and both have the chance to be their team’s top player until graduation, setting up competitive match after competitive match.
“It’s gonna be who puts in more time, who commits himself playing at the next level,” Alaniz said. “It’s about who makes less mistakes and who will get better.”
Gray and Davis met once before. That was in the quarterfinals of last season’s CCC Tournament. Gray won it 6-4, 7-5, but that meeting was also quite competitive. And it didn’t change much Thursday, first of at least two matches this season.
Davis won the first set, but Gray then took control.
“After the first set, I knew I was nowhere near done,” Davis said. “He always comes back. I tried to keep it up, but he played a lot better than I did in the second set. That’s why I lost it. He hit some nice balls.”
The crowd sensed how badly the boys wanted to earn the win, not just became of cross-town rivalry reasons. It earned Gray an edge over what will be a competitive rivalry for the next three seasons.
Davis knows he’ll have to improve before the next matchup, which will likely fill up the stands.
“Even though I’d hit a good serve, he would chip the ball and he’d come up,” he said. “He had real nice volleys. He’s a really tough opponent. And he really rallied me from the baseline. It’s not that I can out-hit him from the baseline.”
To contact Chhun Sun, e-mail at or 634-9141 ext. 2041.