CHICAGO — Mount Zion doubles partners Andy Hinch and Joe Demirjian were unstoppable on the first day of the Class 1A state tennis tournament on Thursday. The pair won their first two matches, giving them a top-16 finish overall, and in the process didn't lose a game.
"Everything was clicking today, the serves were on and everything looked really good. We really look at the top of our game today and that just kept them right on to that second round match," Mount Zion tennis coach Mike Roberts said.
The Braves duo opened the tournament against Logan Waldhoff and Alex Deters from Teutopolis and won 6-0, 6-0.
In round two, Hinch/Demirjian faced Ben Holley and Brian Wieland from Bloomington Central Catholic and again won 6-0, 6-0.
Friday's competition will be tough for Hinch and Demirjian.
"Tomorrow our first round match is against a team from Alton Marquette (Daniel McCluskey and AJ Bower) first thing in the morning. I’m very optimistic about it. They are a No. 9-16 seed so they are the first seeded team we are going to be running into," Roberts said. "After that match, then we play No. 3-4 seed, Steven Chacko and David Wu from Dunlap and they were second in state last year. Tomorrow’s going to be a bigger test. Right now we are in the top 16 teams in the state and each round we move up we will cut that in half."
The pair are keeping rested in the warm weather.
"They are excited. They have really enveloped the moment and taken it all in. They are getting rest, watching their nutrition, it was really hot up here today and they realize that this is their shot so they are trying to respect it in all aspects," Roberts said.
Alton Marquette 8, Tri-City/Sangamon Valley 0
GILLESPIE -- The Tri-City/Sangamon Valley bats went cold as the Tornadoes were shut out by Alton Marquette in their 2A Gillespie Sectional semifinal meeting.
"We didn't hit the ball well and we didn't put enough pressure on them defensively," Tri-City coach Brad Sturdy said. "This was the first time we've had a shutout in like five years.
"I'm very proud of our girls. We're going to miss our seniors, Ella Rutherford and Aubrey Hunt. They are both great players and great people," he said.
Mattoon 2, Paris 1
CHARLESTON -- Mattoon baseball coach Mark Jackley didn’t expect the second game against Paris to go the same way as the first, which the Green Wave won 9-2.
Paris came into the game with only two losses and both teams used a combined eight pitchers in the game. Thursday’s Class 3A region semifinal between Mattoon and Paris was more of a pitching duel between Jacob Spitz and Brock Minor.
Both teams had seven hits in the game, but Mattoon made a couple of theirs matter more. A couple of solo home runs backed Spitz, who held Paris to one hit in 6 ⅔ innings and then Jackson Nichols struck out the final batter for the save as Mattoon advanced to the 3A region title game with a 2-1 win over Paris at Marty Pattin Field.
“I liked our matchup on the mound. The last time we played them, we threw (five) different guys and were successful,” Jackley said. “That third time around (Paris) put together tough at bats. Our pitching staff, like it has been all season, has really been tough for us. You move on and we are happy with that and we get ready for Effingham starting tonight.”
Mattoon faces Effingham in Saturday’s 3A region title game at Marty Pattin Field with the first pitch at 10 a.m. The two teams split their Apollo Conference series, with Effingham’s offense touching up Mattoon’s pitching in the first game for a 15-13 victory. Nichols, who should get the start on Saturday, held Effingham’s offense in check in the second game as Mattoon won 12-3. Jackson struck out eight batters and only allowed four hits in that game.
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