Blood, sweat and some tears were all left on Seymour High School’s tennis courts Friday.
Facing their Jackson County rivals, in the sectional championship, Seymour knew every point mattered to come away with the title.
The Owls (11-6) pulled through in the clutch to bring home the trophy: Seymour’s boys tennis team edged Brownstown Central 3-2 to win the school’s 9th sectional title.
Up 2-1 in team scoring, the Owls’ No. 2 doubles team of Trey Hohenstreiter and Pablo Jimenez came up with the deciding win against the Braves’ Reece Carlin and Cole Shasteen.
Brownstown (12-6) took the opening set 6-3 before the Owls stormed back to win the second 6-1.
In the third set, the teams went back and forth as the scored tied at five games.
Hohenstreiter held serve and the Owls battled for a break to pull out the 7-5 third-set win.
“It wasn’t easy,” Seymour coach Brad Emerson said. “Brownstown put up a really good fight — it was a good battle. Our kids weren’t really relaxed in the first set. They dominated the second and got a little tentative in the third. They hung tough and fought through the nerves and got the victory. I’m very proud of them.”
At No. 1 singles, Ty McCory stayed undefeated in postseason play by topping the Braves’ Ethan Carlin 6-3, 6-2.
McCory, the Owls’ lone senior, said the sectional title is special.
“This was the main goal since the first day of the season,” McCory, said. “It feels great to be sectional champions. It means a lot to us.”
Adam Berry blanked Ethan Wischmeier 6-0, 6-0 for the Owls’ point at No. 2 singles.
“Ty did a great job against a good opponent,” Emerson said. “He played some smart points out there. Adam, he’s just kind of mister consistency. He has done a heck of a job.”
Brownstown’s No. 1 doubles team of Gunnar Zickler and Jackson Lahrman will advance to the individual sectional.
Zickler and Lahrman beat Will Rinehart and Sam Schmidt 6-4, 6-4 at No. 1 singles.
“They’re peaking at the right time,” Braves coach Mitchell Taylor said of the doubles team. “One of the things they do really well is positing themselves during points. They’ve become really good at anticipating where the other team is going to hit the ball and where they need to be. I love the way they’re playing right now, and I’m glad they get to move on.”
In a three-hour match at No. 3 singles, Adam Pottschmidt took the Owls’ Issac Hardin the distance.
Hardin won the first set 7-6 (5) before Pottschmidt claimed the second 6-3. In a third set tiebreaker, Pottschmidt won 7-6 (4).
“Brownstown put up a good fight,” Emerson said. “Coach Taylor has that team going in the right direction. It was a close match.”
Prior to Friday’s win, the Owls had last won a sectional in 2015.
The Owls will play Columbus North at the Bloomington Regional Tuesday. Zickler and Lahrman’s time and opponent is to be determined for individual play.
Taylor, who doesn’t graduate a senior from the starting lineup, looks forward to the team’s future.
“I think, with some work in the off season, we can get a lot better,” Taylor said. “I’m so proud of these guys, it has been so fun coaching and being around them. It was 3-2, and I don’t think a lot of people thought we’d be in this position. I’m proud of these guys and see what they can do next year.”
Emerson expects some good tennis this upcoming week, and credited those behind the scenes for the success this season.
“We will go into regional and do the best we can,” Emerson said. “We will fight hard. Against good teams, we seem to play better. We’ll give it a shot.
“I couldn’t do it without (assistant) coach Caroline Redmond the managers and parents. They have meant a lot to the program this season.”