PORT HURON TIMES HERALD
ST. CLAIR – The St. Clair boys tennis team figured it would have to work hard Friday to win a Division 3 regional championship.
It just didn’t know it would have to work quite as hard as it did.
The Saints finished with 16 points to claim the title on their home courts and extend their state final appearance streak to 17. They finished four points ahead of Armada. Richmond (11 points) and Yale (10) were not far behind either, and all four teams will advance to the state tournament Oct. 17 and 18 at Holly and Fenton. For regionals with eight or fewer teams, 10 points is the magic number to qualify for state.
“We thought it would be tight — I, myself, didn’t think it would be this tight, but I think our coach did,” St. Clair sophomore Seth Pinnoo, who was the champion at No. 1 singles, said. “But it was a good regional.”
Each of the four teams that qualified for state won two flights on the day, with St. Clair taking second in five to pull far enough away from the competition to come out on top.
“That’s the first time I’ve ever had that happen,” St. Clair coach Dave Clutts said of the four teams qualifying. “Which is great, it’s great for this area.
“We thought there could be three — we didn’t see Yale, so I didn’t really know, and it just kind of fell right for them. They pulled a couple wins out of (doubles), and their two, three and four singles were really good.”
Fittingly, the final match on the court in the tournament was the No. 1 singles final between Pinnoo and Armada’s Alex Dusza, which Pinnoo won 6-2, 6-3. The second set was tight early on, but Pinnoo earned a break to go up 5-3 and finished it off on his serve.
“It was a pretty good match,” Pinnoo said. “I started out pretty good, then got a little shaky in some parts. I ended up pulling it out. I mean I was nervous at some points, it was 3-3 in the second set.”
Also winning for St. Clair on the day was the No. 3 doubles team of Matt Tetreau and Joe Marcath. They defeated Sam Bombassie and Riley Jacob of Armada 6-1, 6-0 in the final.
The Tigers won at No. 2 singles and No. 1 doubles. Brett Reuter took home the No. 2 singles crown, defeating Justin Furhman of Yale 6-3, 6-0 in the final.
Armada’s No. 1 doubles team of Jon Schlump and Devon LaHaie defeated St. Clair’s Ryan Maben and Shaun McCormick 6-1, 6-3 in the final. Schlump is now a three-time regional champion.
Richmond won a pair of doubles flights, as Brad Pedri and Connor Hill defeated Loren Isaac and Colton Maynard 7-5, 6-1 in the No. 2 doubles final. That score was very similar to their regular-season meeting, which Pedri and Hill won 7-6, 6-0.
Richmond’s No. 4 doubles team of Max Fahrney and Deven Hill defeated Ben Morgulec and Nolan Lyons of St. Clair 4-6, 6-3, 6-2, avenging a regular-season loss.
“I’m thrilled to death,” Richmond coach Nick Failla said. “We had some seniors who worked hard, then we had a couple kids who were just flat out brand new. So we set two goals at the beginning of the year: One of them was to get to states, the other one was to win conference. We have a real good shot at winning, or at least tying for conference on Tuesday.
“Really, who deserves the recognition is Melinda McCullough who came in to help the boys. I don’t know a ton about tennis, I just stepped in to help because they were going to cancel the program. I coach basketball. Melinda’s the one who has really taught them about tennis. Without her, we wouldn’t have done nearly as well.”
Yale picked up its flight wins at Nos. 3 and 4 singles. Austin Reno took home the No. 3 singles crown, defeating St. Clair’s Troy Distelrath 6-4, 6-3 in the final.
At No. 4 singles, the Bulldog’s Matt Donnellon defeated St. Clair’s Santino Lawrence 6-1, 6-3 in the final.