PITTSBURG, Kan. -- Fort Scott High School's tennis team took second place at the Pittsburg Invitational here Thursday boosted by three third-place individual finishes. Pittsburg topped the five-school field with 14 points followed by Fort Scott with 10 and Columbus with 9.
"The execution was better today," Fort Scott head coach Lynn Barr said. "We still need to play at a more consistent level, but we showed progress. Granted, the competition was not as tough as some of the other recent matches -- especially last week with Independence, Parsons and Arkansas City -- but we have to be pleased with the progress we are making."
Bryce Daly was 3-1 in No. 1 singles. He defeated Zeph Larney of Iola, 8-1, in his first match. Cody Spainhoward of Columbus dealt Daly an 8-1 loss. Daly went on to beat Pittsburg's Hank Cloninger, 8-2, and Labette County's Josh Mathes, 8-5.
"Overall, Bryce had a good day," Barr said. "(Spainhoward) a player and has won a lot of matches this season. Bryce played well most of the day. He came back after the loss with a very strong match against a good player from Pittsburg. Bryce got a little impatient against LCHS, but settled in and finished strong."
Austin Sather went 3-1 in No. 2 singles. He beat Iola's Jordan Strickler, 8-1, and Columbus' Mark Gunn, 8-3. He was beaten 8-3 by Pittsburg's Brandon Smith, who is undefeated this season, but wrapped things up with an 8-3 win over LC's Aidan Carter.
"Austin played smart tennis and was able to work on some things that he needs to add to his game," Barr said. "When he gets more comfortable doing those things he will become an even tougher player."
Davis Drake and Gage Addington were 3-1 in No. 1 doubles. They shut out Iola's Stephen McDonald/Brad Bazo and lost only one game in beating Columbus' Blake Mackinson/Andre McLean. They lost to Pittsburg's Sean Perkins and Jake Cloninger, 8-2, but finished with an 8-5 win over Labette County's Conner Traxson/Caleb Webster after the Grizzlies' team closed to within 6-5.
"Davis and Gage also had a pretty solid tournament today," Barr said. "Their loss came against a good Pittsburg team and except for one little rough stretch late in the match against LCHS, they were pretty much in control throughout the rest of their matches."
Michael Flater and Hayden Barr finished fourth in No. 2 doubles with a 1-3 record. They shut out Iola's Drew Smith/Hayden Wolf, 8-0. Ross Westervelt/Aaron Napier of Columbus took an 8-3 win. Kaleb Koening/Jake Creech of Pittsburg came away with an 8-5 decision. And LC's Dakota Lewis/Colton Kessler picked up an 8-2 victory.
"Hayden and Michael had an up and down day, but that is somewhat expected," Barr said. "These two don't have much varsity experience and the adjustment to play at this level will take some time. They opened playing some very good tennis in their win against Iola. They played some of their best tennis in the loss to Pittsburg. I believe the Pittsburg team has only lost twice all season and Michael and Hayden played them really close for most of the match."
The Tigers will travel to Parsons, Kan., Tuesday to take part in the Labette County Invitational.