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Region tennis: Springstead makes history

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Fri. April 11, 2014 | Derek J. LaRiviere

BROOKSVILLE — A day after winning the first region match it its 33-year history, host Springstead advanced to state by beating Ocala Forest 4-3 in a Class 3A region final at Delta Woods Park on Thursday.

“For three years, we’ve gotten closer and closer, qualifying for regionals,” Eagles senior Hank Deslaurier said. “I’m looking forward to being at state and really enjoying the moment.”

The Eagles led 3-2 after the singles matches. They got wins from Patrick Deslaurier (over Philip Libby 6-3, 6-4), Hank Deslaurier (over Nick Wiglesworth 7-5, 6-2) and Alex Hoover (over Grant Lovell, 2-6, 6-4, 7-5.)

Deslaurier and Robby Hoover fell at No. 1 doubles. But Hank Deslaurier and Alex Hoover sealed the victory by beating Wiglesworth and Lovell 6-3, 6-4.

“It was an amazing feeling,” Alex Hoover said. “I was running on adrenaline toward the end.”

3A: Wiregrass Ranch advanced to state by beating Venice 5-0 at Plantation Golf and Country Club.

2A: Host Nature Coast earned the first state berth in its 13-year history by beating Pasco 5-2.

Jesse DeWitt beat Alex Mitchell 6-1, 6-3 at No. 1 to start the Sharks’ momentum. Mitchell became the Pirates’ top player after Joshua Morris was disqualified during the district tournament for using profanity.

“Sometimes, you see a letdown when the other team is coming in with an adjusted lineup,” Nature Coast coach Tom Brown said. “I was worried we’d come out flat, but we played the first sets really well.”

Conner Schwefringhaus, Alec Lund and Charles Buckner also won for the Sharks.

“We spent last year somewhat rebuilding,” Brown said. “We returned all our kids, and they brought a confidence and maturity to the game all season.”

Pasco’s points came from Brendan Ray. He beat Dakota Willey at No. 3 4-6, 6-4, 6-3 and teamed with Herry Edwards at No. 2 to beat Jerry Bianculli and Nick Pais 7-6 (7-5), 6-1.

Girls: Pasco advances to first state tourney

DADE CITY — Pasco coach Don Charlick called his No. 2 doubles team to the fence to impart a slogan popularized by Rays manager Joe Maddon.

“Champions eat last. Are you hungry?” he asked Amanda Dee and Sara Slayton, who trailed Hernando’s Lida Marie Steinkamp and Shelby Smith 3-0 in the second set.

The duo rallied to win 6-0, 6-3 to clinch a 5-2 win and the Pirates’ first state berth.

“Everything was riding on us,” Dee said. “We had to tell ourselves that this is the last match we’ll play here, and we didn’t want to lose it.”

Dee (No. 3), Shelbie Timlake (No. 2) and Slayton (No. 4) won singles matches for Pasco.

Due to darkness, the No. 1 doubles match started at the Pasco courts and finished at Saint Leo. Pasco’s Mady Johnson and Shelbie Timlake defeated Grace Curren and Jada Bergstrom 4-6, 6-2, 10-7.

3A: Wiregrass Ranch fell to Venice 4-0 at Plantation Golf and Country Club.

Times correspondents Steve Lee contributed to this report.

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