For the first time in school history, a tennis team at Yosemite High School will play for the Central Section title.
The boys tennis team, after it three-peated as champions of the North Sequoia League earlier this year, will face No. 2 seed Dinuba on Wednesday.
Head Coach Aaron Eames said Yosemite has never had a tennis team, boys or girls, in the Central Section finals.
“The boys feel really proud knowing they have had the best season in school history,” Eames said. “It’s going to take our A game to get it done.”
The boys team, as the No. 1 seed, finished the regular season 15-1, and 10-0 in the North Sequoia League. It got to the finals by besting No. 9 seed Kingsburg 7-2 on May 9 in the quarterfinal round, and by beating No. 4 seed Arvin May 11.
In the Kingsburg game, Yosemite’s No. 1 player Steven Standefer won 6-0, 6-1, No. 2 Cannon Eames lost 6-0, 6-6, 7-4, 10-7, No. 3 Ian Pincus lost 6-4, 6-2, No. 4 Tyler Hellwig won 6-3, 6-1, No. 5 Burke Stewart won 6-4, 6-1, and No. 6 David O’Brien won 6-4, 6-4, 10-6.
For doubles matches, Standefer and Eames won 6-2, 6-3, 10-4, Hellwig and Pincus won 6-1, 6-1, 10-7, and Harrison Thearle and Logan Cacy won 6-1, 6-4.
Against Arvin, all players, both individually and in doubles came out winners except for No. 6 David O’Brien. Standefer won 6-2, 6-6, 7-4, 11-9, Eames 7-5, 6-2, Pincus 6-3, 6-2, Hellwig 6-1, 7-5, Stewart 6-4, 6-1, 10-5, and O’Brien lost 6-2, 5-7, 8-10. For doubles, Standefer and Eames won 8-1, Hellwig and Pincus 8-2, and Thearle and Cacy 8-5.
Dinuba, as the No. 2 seed, beat No. 7 Roosevelt and No. 3 Foothill to meet the Badgers on their home court.
Also last week, the Badgers sent four players - Standefer, Eames, Hellwig, and Pincus - to the Central Section North Area tournament for individual players across the Valley.
All four players advanced to the second round, Eames said, but lost, including Standefer in what was arguably the best match of the tournament.
In that match, Standefer lost to Buchanan’s Albertus Duplessis, their top player, 6-4, 7-5. Standefer beat Alek Cardova of Hoover 6-0, 6-2 to advance to the match with Duplessis.
Eames beat Madera’s Matthew Angeles 6-3, 6-4, 7-6 to advance, then lost to Sunnyside’s Cooblej Yang 6-1, 6-0. Hellwig lost to Clovis West’s Taka Shin 6-1, 6-0, and Pincus beat Tshaaj Her of McLane 6-4, 6-3 before losing to Fresno’s Jesse Pedraza 6-0, 6-2.
“We have never gotten out of the first round of that tournament since I’ve been here,” said Eames. “So to have four guys move on was great, and yes, they along with their teammates are the best team I’ve seen.”