LIMA — Shawnee ruled the regular boys’ tennis season with a 9-0 record but Ottawa-Glandorf was right behind at 8-1 and O-G grabbed the Western Buckeye League tournament title and the two teams tied for the overall league title Saturday at the UNOH courts.
Shawnee totaled 10 points in the regular season and recorded nine points in the tournament while the Titans reversed that with nine points in the regular season and 10 points for their tournament win.
The Indians swept first, second, and third singles but couldn’t overcome two seventh-place finishes in doubles as the Titans won both doubles brackets and also had a second, a fourth, and a sixth in the singles brackets.
Tournament points were awarded 12 points for first place, 10 points for second, 8 points for third, 6 points for fourth, 4 points for fifth, 3 points for sixth, 2 points for seventh, 1 point for eighth, and zero points for ninth and 10th places.
O-G finished with 44 points in the tournament to 40 for the Indians and, as a result, the 2018 tennis season has co-champions. The title was the 24th for the Indians in 39 years in the WBL while the Titans recorded only their second championship in 43 years of WBL play.
The Titans first doubles team of cousins Zach Balbaugh and Drew Kuhlman took a 6-0, 6-1 victory over Andrew Vogel and Mason King of St. Marys to get the Titans off to a good start.
“It feels good, we had fun all year and feel vindicated after being runners-up last year.” Kuhlman said.
“We didn’t think we had a chance going into the season,” Balbaugh said. “It’s real cool to go out and win it.”
O-G continued its run when the second doubles team of Colin Welch and Ben Schaub knocked off the Elida duo of Jacob Ramirez and Riley Creps 6-2, 6-4 for the title.
The Indians then went to work in the singles matches and Jackson Schaaf took the third singles championship with a 6-0, 6-0 win over O-G’s Carter Welch.
“I tried to play consistent and pass when he came to the net.” Schaaf said. “My service game got better as the match went on.”
Second singles saw Shawnee’s Isaac Hanover knock off Kyle Lochtefeld of Celina by a score of 6-4, 6-2 to claim the victory.
“My first match today (6-0, 6-0 over Howie Spencer of St. Marys) I was really happy with my play.” Hanover said. “I started the second (championship) march strong but ran into some service issues. I calmed down and got my service game back so overall I’m happy.”
In first singles it was Michael Rutter of Shawnee knocking off Michael Etter of Van Wert by a 6-0, 6-1 margin.
“That is kind of how it has been all season with us being strong in the singles.” Shawnee coach Nate Higgins said. “Unfortunately, all three singles players are seniors and will be leaving; next year will be a lot of work.”
For O-G the co-championship is a big step forward for the program.
“The kids worked hard and we reached a goal so this is an accomplishment, getting a share of the title is a huge step forward for our program.” O- G assistant coach Matt Kelly said. “We knew our doubles teams had a chance to get us some points; it was successful season from top to bottom.”