Tiger Cubs repeat as tennis kings; veteran squad hopeful tourney run just beginning

Thursday, September 29, 2016
Jed Fajt hits a return shot at No. 1 singles in the sectional championship match.
Banner Graphic/Joey Bennett

Sean Ramey didn’t know the status of the other matches during Thursday evening’s Northview sectional boys’ tennis championship.

“I didn’t want to know,” he said. “I was just focused on my match.”

Had he known, Ramey might have tensed up and played under more pressure since his match at No. 2 singles could have been the deciding one of the match.

Greencastle had already won at No. 1 and No. 3 singles, but the two doubles matches were close battles that eventually went into a third set.

All’s well that ends well, however, the saying goes.

Ramey finished off Coy Byerly of Owen Valley 6-3, 6-3 to earn the title-clinching third victory, giving Greencastle its third straight sectional title.

“I wanted those guys to win down there in their third sets” Ramey said. “Getting the third win... that didn’t matter to me who got it, as long as we got it.”

Senior Jed Fajt polished off OV’s Miguel Filho 6-0, 6-0 in just 31 minutes to put the Tiger Cubs up 1-0, and Yuji Mozawa finished off Isaiah Johnson of the Patriots 6-0, 7-5 to put Greencastle in good position.

Elijah Lewis hits a short return shot at the net in his No. 1 doubles match on Thursday against Owen Valley.
Banner Graphic/Joey Bennett

Greencastle’s Nathan Gobert and Elijah Lewis were involved in a tough match with Ryne Heckman and Zachary Carver at No. 1 doubles, while Logan Wood and Jack Riggle of the Tiger Cubs were locked up in another slugfest with Drew Mauder and Keaton Richardson.

The team of Gobert-Lewis won its three-set match next, while the No. 2 doubles match went into a third set after the other four contests were all finished and the outcome was long determined.

The match was played at DePauw’s indoor courts, after rain earlier in the day and threatening afternoon skies put the possibility of getting the match played in some doubt.

Greencastle had reached the finals by defeating Northview 4-1 on Wednesday.

The Tiger Cubs had beaten the Knights 3-2 in a close regular-season match.

Fajt lost to standout Northview senior Bryce Minor in that match. Minor entered sectional play with a 16-2 record, but Fajt again set the tone for his team by coming up with a big victory.

“Both of our sectional matches were tough,” Fajt said. “I lost earlier in the season [to Minor], so I was glad to be able to get a win to take some of the pressure off everyone else.”

Fajt entered the sectional with a deceiving 9-6 record, but plays with quickness and aggression and has benefited by playing the opponent’s best player all season long.

He credits hard work for his team’s success.

“This is our third sectional title in a row, and not a lot of teams can say that at any school,” Fajt said. “We worked really hard in the off-season to get to this point.

“We were confident, and we have the best guys out there playing,” he added. “I wouldn’t want to do this with any other team or any other guys.”

Ramey, a junior, has enjoyed the season — which also includes a Western Indiana Conference championship — and thinks the closeness of the players is another big key.

“It’s been great,” he said. “We have a great camaraderie on the team.

“Everybody has a great bond, and that shows in matches when you can hear us cheering for each other.”

Third-year coach Kevin Rowe has never lost a boys’ sectional match since taking over the program in 2014.

“We’ve been working since the start of the season, and some of us since the start of the summer,” Rowe said. “I am really proud of the guys, and the work they’ve put in clearly showed on the court today. OV had a great team, and I applaud them and their coach. I’m happy with how this turned out.”

Rowe admits that the pair of 4-1 victories by his team are misleading in appearance.

“Our scores don’t reflect how good a team Northview is or Owen Valley is,” he said. “Either match could have gone the other way.

“It was a very well-balanced sectional this year, and we are happy to pull out the win.”

Greencastle now advances to the Crawfordsville regional and will play at 4:45 p.m. Tuesday against the winner of tonight’s Crawfordsville sectional championship between the Athenians and Turkey Run.

Semifinal matches

Greencastle 4, Northview 1

Singles — 1. Jed Fajt (G) def. Bryce Minor (N) 6-4, 7-6 (3); 2. Sean Ramey (G) def. Clayton Buck (N) 6-1, 6-3; 3. Yuju Mozawa (G) def. Chase McCrocklin (N) 7-6 (4), 6-3

Doubles — 1. Nathan Gobert-Elijah Lewis (G) def. Luke Weaver-Nick Ganley (N) 7-6 (6), 6-3; 2. Jalen Satterfield-Jacob Kendal (N) def. Logan Wood-Jack Riggle (G) 6-2, 6-2

Owen Valley 3, South Putnam 2

Singles — 1. Thomas Fanning (SP) def. Miguel Filho (OV); 2. Coy Byerly (OV) def. Ty Vansickle (SP); 3. Austin Arnold (SP) def. Isaiah Johnson (OV)

Doubles — 1. Ryne Heckman-Zachary Carver (OV) def. Tanner Pistelli-Noam Emmerich (SP); 2. Drew Mauder-Keaton Richardson (OV) def. Jerad Seidler-Creigh Remsburg (SP)

Championship match

__Greencastle 4, Owen Valley 1

Singles — 1. Jed Fajt (G) def. Miguel Filho (OV) 6-0, 6-0; 2. Sean Ramey (G) def. Coy Byerley (OV) 6-3, 6-3; 3. Yuji Mozawa (G) def. Isaiah Johnson (OV) 6-0, 7-5

Doubles — 1. Elijah Lewis-Nathan Gobert (G) def. Ryne Heckman-Zachary Carver (OV) 6-4, 4-6, 6-3; 2. Drew Mauder-Keaton Richardson (OV) def. Logan Wood-Jack Riggle (G) 7-6 (5), 5-7, 6-1

Next match — Greencastle (12-3) will play the winner of tonight’s Crawfordsville sectional match between Crawfordsville and Turkey Run at 4:45 p.m. on Tuesday in the Crawfordsville regional.

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  • Congrats to Coach Rowe and the Tiger Cub team. An excellent program!

    -- Posted by beg on Fri, Sep 30, 2016, at 5:36 AM
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