Chapel Hill High School’s tennis team produced one of its grittier performances ever when it topped 4A Jordan, an old rival of the Tigers from the days when they were still called Chapel Hill Wildcats.
Playing on a beautiful but hot Tuesday afternoon, Chapel Hill’s young team got singles wins in straight sets from freshman Jerry Cai, sophomore Patrick Dayton, freshman Paul Tsui and sophomore Zach Bolzan for 4-1 lead.
Then things started to go bad.
First Jared Webber started suffering from leg cramps at the last singles match underway, on Court No. 2, and then Bolzan started to cramp up at No. 3 doubles, where he and Tsui were leading 5-2.
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Webber seriously considered defaulting but played out his match, losing in straight sets to Jordan’s Aiden O’Donnell, an all-conference player last year; that left Chapel Hill ahead 4-2. Jordan’s other returning all-PAC-6 player, Davis Cromer already had won at No. 1 singles.
Momentum appeared to be shifting to Jordan when Bolzan needed a 5-minute break for medical treatment from the Chapel Hill trainer. Replenished with electrolyte-laden fluids and helped by some stretching, Bolzan returned to the court. Clearly hampered by the cramps, almost stationary at the net, he still managed to poach a winner or two, while Tsui did yeoman’s work across the back of the entire doubles court.
Bolzan and Tsui went on to win 8-2 and sealed the team win for Chapel Hill. Meanwhile, Webber hobbled through his No. 1 doubles alongside Cai; they won 8-3. Junior David Mizroyan and Dayton won 8-5 to make what was really a close match appear like a rout.
Chapel Hill’s win capped a busy seven days for the Tigers. Earlier, they had clinched the Big-8 championship with consecutive, 8-1 wins over Cedar Ridge and Orange.
Chapel Hill heads to Orange on Wednesday for the Big-8 tournament. With the conference’s top seed already decided for the upcoming dual-team playoffs, the teams will use the league tournament to help decide seeds for the NCHSAA’s individual championships.
Meanwhile: East Chapel Hill’s tennis team completed its regular season at 14-3 after an 8-1 win against Ravenscroft. The Wildcats did not drop a set to a PAC-6 opponent this year except in a pair of 5-4 losses to Cardinal Gibbons. Their respective players are likely to tangle again in Wednesday’ PAC-6 tournament at East.
Mid-State 2A champion Carrboro has a last regular-season match scheduled for Monday at 3A Cedar Ridge before heading to Jordan-Matthews in Siler City for their conference tournament on Tuesday.
Great pitching: Less than week after Nick Elston pitched a perfect game for Chapel Hill, junior righthander Jackson Pettee (2-1) came close to duplicating the feat. He struck out 14 and walked just one of the 15 men he faced in Chapel Hill’s 10-0, five-inning shutout of Southern Durham on Tuesday.
Friday night, the Tigers were great on the mound again. Righthanders Justin Anthony and Tyler Hansen combined to no-hit Southern in a 15-1, five-inning victory in Durham.
Anthony (6-2, ERA 1.47) started and threw three perfect innings, striking out five and walking none for the win. Hansen – with three wins, two saves and an ERA of 0.51 in seven appearances – closed with four strikeouts and just two walks while facing the last six Spartans.
Chapel Hill (17-5, 9-3) headed into this weekend with four straight wins, and the Tigers were one game behind Orange (15-6, 8-2) in the Big-8 standings. They were No. 8 in the News & Observer rankings, one ahead of the No. 9 Panthers.
Blue-White: With the coming graduation of cornerback Alex Moore, an alum of East Chapel Hill, North Carolina has no player from Chapel Hill on its current football roster for the first time in years. But there are still several area players on the team, including Jared Worley of Northwood.
True freshman Jordon Brown of Southern Durham had the best performance of any area player in the Blue-White game last weekend. He rushed 11 times for a game-high 85 yards and caught two passes for six yards.
Rising senior Khris Francis, a former star for Hillside, carried the ball eight times for 50 yards, including a 16-yard touchdown run in the first half.
Jordan’s Joey Mangili, last year’s starting punter, performed well, with four punts for an average of 38.3 yards. But he may get some competition from rising junior Corbin Daly of Charlotte, who averaged 43 yards a punt on his three tries.
CGA Four-Ball: Chapel Hill golfers Mark Kozel and Steve Smith shot rounds of 70-67-71 for an 8-under-par total of 208, good enough for a share off 24th place in the 48th Carolinas Senior Four-Ball Championship, hosted April 19-21 by North Ridge Country Club in Raleigh. Charlotte’s Jim Grainger and Jim Pearson torched the field with a 24-under total of 192 to win by five strokes.
In a CGA One-Day Four-Ball Tournament at the Governors Club on April 18, Jack Smailes and P. Donald Harkey had the best finish (third place) of any Chapel Hill golfers. They combined to shoot a 71, two strokes in back of winners Mark Nieters and Mark Absher of Forsyth County. In the Men’s B Flight at the Governors Club tournament, Chapel Hill’s Doug Noell and Don Gellenbeck of Hillsborough carded an 83 for ninth place, while Patrick Nevins of Durham and Joe Nevins of Chapel had an identical 83.