The Hannibal boys’ tennis team are champions. For the second time this this season, the Pirates beat Francis Howell and this time is when it mattered most. Hannibal beat Francis Howell 5-1 to win the district championship Wednesday night.
While the Pirates lost only one match, they were played very tough by Francis Howell. The first three matches went into a tie breaking match while two matches needed additonal tie breakers.
Dhaval Katbamna lost the No. 1 singles opening set 5-7. He then won the second set 6-4 before dropping the decidng set 4-6.
“We had a lot of dramatic moments,” Hannibal coach Jay Johnson said. “Dhaval Katbamna played a wonder match even though he just barely didn’t quite pull that out.”
In the No. 2 singles, Daniel Fohey also lost the opener, falling 2-6. But, Fohey bounced back to take the second set 7-6 and 7-3 in the tie breaker. In the third and deciding set, Fohey won 6-2.
Jacob Hammock followed a similiar pattern, dropping his opening set 4-6, but he won the second and third sets 6-3, 6-4 to give Hannibal a 2-1 lead.
“Daniel Fohey dropped the first set and was able to comeback, win a tiebreaker and win the match,” Johnson said. “Jacob Hammock dropped the first set (too) and was able to come back and win the match.”
In the No. 4 and No. 5 singles, Blake Hosley and Brett Hinton won their matches without the need of a third set. Hosely won 7-5, 6-3 while Hinton won 6-2, 6-4.
“Blake Hosley, had been in all honesty had been clobbered by his guy in the two times previous,” Johnson said. “He was able to win today. Brett Hinton played great.”
With the two additional wins, Hannibal lead 4-1 and needed to win one more to claim victory.
In the No. 6 singles, Austin Haynes won the opener 6-0, but in the second set he fell 4-6. Needing a tie breaker, Haynes won his match 7-6, but once again needed a tie breaker. In the final set, Haynes won 7-5 to clinch the district championship for Hannibal.
“Austin Haynes was the last match on there,” Johnson said. “He won a 7-5 tiebreaker to put it away. So it was just a great night.”
Hannibal will now focus on individual district play this weekend and will be hosted by Hannibal. Next up for the team is sectionals which will be held on May 18 when the Pirates face Francis Howell North.