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Turlock and Pitman tennis send top guys to CCC singles finale
Turlock tennis
Senior Alex Lima of Turlock will be moving on to the CCC singles final to take on Nick Gianfortone of Pitman on Thursday after sweeping through three rounds. - photo by EDDIE RUIZ/The Journal

Turlock and Pitman High boys’ tennis dominated the Central California Conference tournament on Tuesday.


After an entire day of matches at Atwater High in a nearly perfect day, only one player for each school were left in the 16 player bracket.


Alex Lima of Turlock and Pitman's Nick Gianfortone will battle on Thursday for the league singles final after each won their three matches.


“Nick played great tennis all day,” said Pitman head coach Doug Reimers. “He played with confidence and a belief in his ability to go far in the tournament. I am proud of how he handled his emotions and kept fighting when the score of the matched favored his opponent.”


Although with the top two singles players in the CCC on the Turlock squad in Davis Griffin and Lima, the Bulldogs and Griffin met Gianfortone in the semifinal match that seemed destined for the No. 1 seed Griffin.


Instead, all things went against Griffin, and although Gianfortone struggled in the first set, he bounced back and adjusted to Griffin's gameplan.


“He never gave up and relied on his training and will to battle with his opponents,” said Reimers of Gainfortone.


Struggling with back spasms after the first set of the semifinal match, Griffin was already contemplating on just quitting due to the severity of his injury.


Instead, head coach Jack Schneider shared some inspiring words with his top player and he stayed in for the duration of the match.


“Nick put up a hell of a fight but Davis was playing with back spasms and his new racket had the strings rip and all things were not going well for him after that first set win,” said Schneider.


Griffin pulled out with a 7-5 win in the first set, but Gianfortone came back to win the next match 7-6 (2) and ended the day with a 6-4 win in the final set.


“Nick pulled out the win and I told him good job,” said Schneider. “We will see how it goes when Nick plays Alex Lima in the final.”


Lima, who had a smoother ride, ended up winning all three of his matches in straight sets, starting with a sweep over Golden Valley's Jose Falconi and ending the day with a straight sets win over Colin Rabago of Merced.


“Alex he put his nose in grindstone,” said Schneider. “I didn't have to coach him at all and he played well. I am proud of him and of Nick as well, since I train him and it was great to see him do well. I was really happy for him.”


Dennis Lawson of Pitman lost in the first round while Ryan Asai of Turlock and Lorenz Lat of Pitman each moved on to the second round before losing.


The singles finale will take place at Golden Valley High as well as the CCC doubles tournament at 9 a.m. Thursday.


“Davis is down but now we will find him a partner for doubles,” Schneider said. “We have to qualify the teams tomorrow, but for sure Kellen and Ziya are definitely one of my three teams.”