WHEELERSBURG — On the road, and in the heat one day and in the cold the next, the Wheelersburg Pirates played two tennis matches this past week —and captured both encounters by identical 3-2 counts.
These were the first matches for the Pirate men this season, and actually were the first in two years — given that the 2020 Ohio High School Athletic Association season was cancelled in response to the coronavirus threat.
On Tuesday, with warm sunny skies to play outdoors under, the Pirates won at Minford in a Southern Ohio Conference contest.
All five individual matches were straight-set affairs, with Wheelersburg sweeping the three singles contests and the Falcons taking both of the doubles bouts.
On Thursday, and amid chilly temperatures and even some snow flurries, the Pirates won at Ironton in a non-league matchup.
Once again, Wheelersburg swept all three singles matches in straight sets, and almost earned wins in both doubles matches — but the Fighting Tigers took both in three hard-earned sets.
Against the Falcons, Wheelersburg’s Logan Davis defeated Charlie Neal 6-4 and 6-2 at first singles, Alex Thomas swept Sam Wiehle 7-5 and 6-3 at second singles, and Preslee Etterling edged Nathaniel Knight 6-3 and 7-6 at third singles.
The Falcons forged the 3-2 total score with a sweep of the doubles matches, including Teegan Clarkson and Kaden Kelley pitching a second-doubles shutout (6-0, 6-0) over Alex Meyers and Colson Arnold.
At first doubles, Minford’s Matthew Justice and Dillon Osborne swept Wheelersburg’s Gavin Rase and Austin Collier, 6-1 and 7-6 (7-1).
Against Ironton, the Pirates fared better in the doubles competition as head coach Amy Lowery changed her two lineups, but they still lost both contests in three sets apiece.
Rase and Meyers teamed this time at second doubles, and narrowly lost to Ironton’s Ben Hermon-Holt and Kenny Barron 7-5, 5-7 and 6-8.
Ironton’s Erickson Barnes and Matt Davis defeated Collier and Nathan Sylvia at first singles, with the Fighting Tigers’ twosome taking the match 6-3, 5-7 and 6-2.
However, Wheelersburg won again 3-2 on the strength of its singles dominance — as Logan Davis swept Bryce Glockner 6-2 and 6-0 (first singles), Thomas swept Titus Lewis 6-1 and 6-2 (second singles), and Etterling edged Teegan Carpenter 6-4 and 6-4 (third singles).
Davis, in 2019, was a Division II district tournament qualifier for the Pirates as a sophomore.
The Pirates play their first home match on Saturday (April 3) at high noon against visiting Hillsboro.