A night that began with such promise for the Socastee boys tennis team ended only with disappointment, the lone remnant of a Lower State 5A boys tennis final loss to rival West Florence.
Meeting for the third time after splitting their two regular season matchups, it was the Knights who got the better of this one, claiming a 5-2 victory.
West Florence will get undefeated Spartanburg on Saturday for the Class 5A state championship.
This past Friday, the Braves’ ability to weather the storm — both literally and figuratively — allowed it to survive and advance multiple tiebreaker situations. The shoe was on the other foot on Monday, however, West Florence earning wins in three of the four tiebreakers contested, including a crucial one in doubles that earned the Knights the Lower State title.
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“Frankly, things have to bounce your way sometimes, and for (West Florence) it bounced their way in those tiebreaks,” said Socastee boys tennis coach Doug Warstler. “We won a match the other night where we won three tiebreaks. And I guess sometimes things even out.”
The Knights went into the doubles portion of the competition with a slim 3-2 lead, taking the first set in both matches. Socastee’s No. 1 team of Britton Bellamy and Nick LeFever made things interesting, though, winning the second set of their matchup with Burns Grich and Worth Player.
But the duo was unable to get anything going in the tiebreaker, falling 10-3 and making what was transpiring on the other court a mere consolation prize.
“It’s tough for all the seniors. We had five of them, and we really thought this was the year we could break through,” Warstler said. “Making the Lower State final is certainly going to be a high for us as coaches, and hopefully when the disappointment wears off the kids will see this as a highlight of their careers as well. Getting here is no easy task, and we did it.”
Singles: Britton Bellamy (SOC) def. Burns Grich (WF) 6-2, 6-3; Hale Emerson (WF) def. Robert Warstler (SOC) 7-6, 2-6 (10-4); Wyatt Emerson (WF) def. Noah Johnson (SOC) 3-6, 6-1 (10-8); Connor Barr (SOC) def. Austin Tyler (WF) 6-7, 6-3 (10-3); David Dubose (WF) def. Brent Glasgow (SOC) 7-6, 6-3.
Doubles: Burns Grich/Worth Player (WF) def. Britton Bellamy/ Nick LeFever (SOC) 7-6, 4-6 (10-3); Patterson Kannon/Hale Emerson (WF) def. Robert Warstler/Lap Fung Chang (SOC) 6-1, 7-6..