EATON — The Eaton boys tennis team entered the SWBL tournament in a three-way tie for 5th place (Franklin, Brookville), trailing Monroe by one point for 4th place. After some strong play by the entire team, the Eagles were able to secure an overall 4th place finish, edging Franklin by one point.
Valley View, Oakwood, and Bellbrook finished in the top three respectively.
“After finishing dead last a season ago, this was quite an improvement,” said Coach John Hitchcock after the tournament. “I’m hoping we can still build on with such a young team.”
At first singles, sophomore Brad Kramer placed 6th. He lost to Monroe 1-6, 2-6. He then lost a tough second round match to Bellbrook’s top player 3-6, 6-0, 4-6 but was able to avenge an earlier loss to Brookville by beating their player 6-0, 7-6 (7-4).
At second singles, sophomore Breven Perry placed 5th. Perry lost to Franklin 6-7, 3-6 in the first round but then finished with wins against Monroe, 6-4, 6-3, and Brookville 6-1, 6-0.
At third singles, junior Dylan Hauser, captured 4th place. He was also able to avenge an earlier loss in the year to Monroe by beating their player 6-3, 6-1 in the first round, but then ran into a strong opponent from Valley View, losing that match 3-6, 0-6. Following the loss, he was able to take Bellbrook’s player to three sets, but came up short, losing 0-6, 6-2, 3-6.
Both doubles teams also placed 4th for Eaton. In first doubles, sophomores Aaron Tolliver and Branson Ball beat Monroe 6-3, 6-1. They lost to eventual champions from Valley View 0-6, 3-6. They battled back against a tough Brookville team, losing 4-6, 4-6.
In second doubles, freshman Andrew Collins and junior Cody Frizzell also beat Monroe 6-2, 6-2. They also lost to eventual champs Valley View, 0-6, 0-6. On their next match, they suffered a heartbreaking loss to Bellbrook. The Eagle team had a match point but could not convert it. They lost in three sets, 1-6, 6-1, 6-7 (6-8).
Third singles player Dylan Hauser earned an SWBL honorable mention award.
The sectional postseason tournament was held last week, May 12, at Centerville High School
Brad Kramer was able to battle his way to the third round before being eliminated in the single elimination style tournament. He beat Michael Withers from Dayton Christian in three sets 6-1, 4-6, 6-4, in the first round. The second round also found him going another three sets but once again coming out on top beating Evan Rinehart from Greeneview 6-1, 1-6, 6-4. That win earned him a match with the #2 seed and eventual sectional champion Colton Morehart from Miami Valley school. He lost 0-6, 0-6.
Perry was able to play a strong match in the first round, beating Austin Yeary from Carlisle 6-0, 6-0. Then in the second round he faced the top seed and eventual runner-up winner, Carlos Estrada Sanchez from Chaminade Julienne. He lost 0-6, 0-6.
Cody Frizzell gave it his all but lost to eventual district qualifier Will Huffman from Chaminade Julienne, 0-6, 0-6.
The doubles team of Aaron Tolliver and Branson Ball took down Preble Shawnee’s Cailin Foriest and Alec Hamblin, 6-4, 6-2 but then stumbled in a tough three-setter to Carlisle’s JT Sturgis and Brent Mays, 6-3, 6-7 (4-7), 3-6.
The other doubles team of Dylan Hauser and Andrew Collins struggled and lost to Preble Shawnee’s Chucky Short and Cole Michael, 4-6, 3-6.
Hitchcock reflected on the season after the sectionals tournament: “Last season we had five freshmen beginners on varsity and it showed. This year we finished 6-11 overall and placed 4th in the Southwestern Division of the SWBL. I am very happy for that improvement and going to be optimistic on how we can build on that. We had no seniors on the team this year, which was nice because we get to bring everybody back. And we even have some ambitious JV players who will make a strong push for varsity next season. Competition breeds success.”