While spectators at the Modesto Metro Conference tennis championships sought refuge in the shade, Enochs High’s Jordan Hayashi and Beyer’s Ryan Lewis clashed in hot, breezeless conditions at the Modesto JC tennis courts.
When it was over, it was Hayashi who had avenged two regular-season defeats to Lewis with a 6-3, 6-3 victory to win the MMC singles title.
“It was definitely hotter than it was on Tuesday,” said Hayashi, a junior. “The heat definitely takes a toll but you just have to dig a little deeper and you can’t lose focus. You’ve got to ignore it.”
Not only did Hayashi do a good job of ignoring the heat, but he also ignored any trouble in which he found himself. He won five straight games to win the first set 6-3.
“This really stings right now,” said Lewis, the first freshman ever in the MMC to post a perfect regular-season record. “What’s even more frustrating is that I was up 3-1 in the first set.”
The cat-quick Hayashi prowled the baseline and returned just about everything the powerful Lewis hit toward him, seemingly content to wait out Lewis until the freshman made a mistake.
“This was a tough matchup for Jordan because Ryan is such a power player,” said Enochs coach Niles Carlin. “But he read the situation, decided to throw the top-spin in there and be more patient.”
That seemed to affect Lewis, who wore his emotions on his sleeve against Hayashi.
“I’ve only been coaching for six years but he’s as talented a freshman as I’ve ever seen,” said Beyer coach Mark Gonzales. “But sometimes his emotions make it a little bit tough for him.”
“(Hayashi) pops the ball up a lot,” said Lewis, pointing out that he’d rather face an opponent who wants to trade haymakers, to borrow a boxing expression. “That drives me nuts.”
After each player held to open the second set, Lewis broke Hayashi to go up 2-1. But Hayashi promptly returned the favor to even the score.
It was a key spot in the match. Had Hayashi fell behind 3-1, he may have started thinking ahead to an anything-could’ve-happened third set, especially in the heat.
“That game at 2-1 was big,” said Hayashi. “I thought for a little that I’d have to prepare myself for a third set.’ Then I thought, ‘Forget a third set, I’ve got to finish him here.’ ”
Tied at 2-2, Hayashi won four of the final five games to secure the title.
Modesto High won the doubles championship, but everybody knew the Panthers would win since it was a Modesto vs. Modesto final.
The Panthers’ No. 1 tandem of Christian McCaig and Riley Noland defeated John Souza and Matt Ip 6-0, 6-0.
“It was pretty awesome because it was rather unexpected,” said Modesto coach Scott Mitchell, whose team finished second in the MMC standings this year after winning the previous four championships. “We had kind of a dynasty there for a while but we expected this to be a rebuilding year. It was kind of a big surprise.”
CCC championships in Merced – Golden Valley’s Cesar Nava defeated Merced High’s Rex Cabrea 6-2, 6-3 to claim the Central California Conference singles title.
Golden Valley made it a clean sweep as its doubles team of Thomas Becker and Adrian Garcia bested Turlock’s Alex Lima and Heath Rojas 6-4, 6-4 in the final.