HERMISTON — The Hood River Valley Eagles won just as many boys’ tennis matches as Hermiston in the schools’ meeting Wednesday, but a short club roster left some Bulldogs without opponents to face at the back end of the lineup. Those forfeitures handed Hermiston the 5-3 match victory, its third Columbia River Conference triumph in the first section of league play.
Hermiston beat conference rivals The Dalles Wahtonka and Pendleton last week before downing Hood River Valley on Wednesday.
“We lost a couple kids to lacrosse and a lot to graduation,” Hiatt said. “So we have two freshman at the top who are playing a lot of tennis for us.”
Those boys — Ryan Andrews and Scottie Zigner — led a singles sweep through the Hermiston ranks. The Bulldogs lost in each of the first three positions before taking No. 4 via forfeit.
Andrews defeated Hermiston’s top boy Dain Lloyd 6-3, 6-1 on a day marked by pre-storm, blustery conditions. The matches’ starting times were all bumped forward a half hour in hopes of avoiding the incoming rain clouds. The rain held off until the final games completed, but the wind did some damage, Lloyd said. Strong gusts blew from north to south along the length of the court, disrupting touch shots and blowing balls over the far line.
“It definitely curved some of the shots around and some of the shots I normally had that would fall would be just out,” Lloyd said. “It was kind of hard adjusting to that because I’m so set in my regular game.
“On a different day, I think the game would have been totally different.”
Trailing through the singles portion of competition, the Dawgs’ doubles teams went to work to bring Hermiston back ahead. Lucas Wyatt and Vincent Whitesell knocked off Marten Sova and Cooper Holzman in the top doubles spot 6-2, 6-3. That would be the closest any Hood River Valley duo would come to sniffing victory Wednesday.
Kyle Stone moved up from the third duo team to No. 2 for the first time this season to pair with Gavin Drotzmann, reuniting a team from last year. Stone’s promotion comes on the heels of several good matches and he said he’s “piecing it all together.”
The familiarity between the two helped them to a 6-0, 6-1 victory.
“We know what we’re doing and we talk well and communicate,” Drotzmann said.
Michael Wallace and Colton Bond also won for the Dawgs in the No. 3 position, a straight set 6-0, 6-0 walk in the park. Theirs was the final doubles match in which Hood River Valley could produce competitors.
The Bulldogs will take a break from CRC matchups to face a pair of tough teams this Friday in Hermiston. Old Intermountain Conference foes Bend and Summit will hit town, along with Pendleton. Each will play the Dawgs and Bucks once on the day.