Tennis takes third at LCHS
PARSONS -- Fort Scott High School's tennis team took third place in Labette County High School's five-team tournament here Tuesday.
Weather permitting, the Tigers will return here today for a tournament hosted by Parsons High School.
"It was nice to get this one in with all the rainouts we had last week," Fort Scott head coach Lynn Barr said. "The conditions weren't great, but at least it was dry. Again today we had a little different lineup as we left a few players home to keep them under the KSHSAA limit on days of competition, but this gives us a chance to play some new people and see what they can do in varsity action."
Fort Scott saw both doubles teams post third-place finishers. Josh Grant and Dustin Willard played No. 1 doubles while Chris Lamb and Jeff Johnson paired up for the first time this season in No. 2 doubles.
Grant/Willard (4-8 on the season) won their first match, defeating the LCHS Red team pair of Joe Shallington and Daniel Merritt, 8-3. They lost to Independence's Shane Ferguson/Omar Elshabassy, 8-0. They beat Columbus' Yoseph Lee/Thomas Niegisch, 8-6, and lost their final match to the LCHS varsity team of Bret Eckelberry/Jesse Mueller, 8-1.
"Josh and Dustin again played some good tennis at times, but again had stretches where mistakes were very costly," Barr said. " There two losses did come to very good teams though. If they can just raise their games to a little more consistent level they could be a competitive team by the end of the season."
Lamb and Johnson, who have each played some varsity doubles but were paired up for the first time this season, shut out Jon Meyer/Zenas Lopez of LCHS Red in their first match. Mason Posch/Austin Schroder of Independence took the next match, 8-2. In the third match, Lamb/Johnson beat Andrew Ballantyne/Nick Holman of Columbus, 8-2. Finally, they lost to the LCHS varsity team of David Warren/Joe Garrett in a tie-breaker 8-7 (7-4).
"They came very close to winning against a much more experienced LCHS team in their final match," Barr said. "Chris is coming back from an ankle injury, and seems to have recovered pretty well and Jeff just continues to improve with each match. He is becoming quite an imposing player at the net and is making some good decisions during play."
Both singles entrants finished in fourth place. Colton Grillott (1-4) played No. 1's and beat Dale Check of LCHS Red, 8-2. He lost to Indy's Dan Porter, 8-0; Columbus' Justin Kidd, 8-1; and Labette County's Denton Braden, 8-6.
"Colton had a very nice tournament today stepping up to the No. 1 singles position," Barr said. "He gave a good showing of himself and played some very competitive tennis, especially for a freshman. He did a great job of being consistent when he needed to just get the ball back and also in building points, especially in his matches against Indy and LCHS. His final match against LCHS could have easily gone either way, with probably Braden's match experience making the difference in the end."
Simmons-Mims played his first varsity singles matches and won the first one over Joel Merritt of LCHS Red, 8-0. He lost to Indy's Andrew Carr, 8-1; Columbus' Nick Thomas, 8-6; and LC's Travis Wells, 8-2.
"Kai had some good moments and hopefully learned more about what it will take to compete at this level," Barr noted. "He has the potential, but just needs to improve his groundstrokes and his consistency."
A busy stretch for the Tiger program continues Friday when the junior varsity hosts a make-up dual with Chanute. That will get underway at 3 p.m. Monday, the JV will host a tourament. Tuesday, the varsity will go to Pittsburg to make up a previously rained-out event.