BY CHUCK VANDENBERG
KEOKUK – The Fort Madison Bloodhounds snapped a four meet win streak Thursday with a close 5-4 loss on Keokuk high school’s tennis courts.
The Chiefs and Hounds split the singles action three matches each and it came down to the doubles matches to determine the winner.
Dante Seaney fell to Keokuk’s Reid Rider 0-6, 2-6 at No. 1 singles, but Johnny Hernandez, who hadn’t lost in his last three matches, put up another win over Dillon. Hernandez took the opening set relatively easily with a 6-3 win, but had to go a second set tiebreaker and won 7-4 to take the match.
Sam Avery fell in straight sets 4-6, 3-6 at No. 3 singles. The alternating wins continued when Austin Kreuger was able to get into a tiebreaker with Peyton Skender after losing the first set 2-6. Krueger came back to win the second set 6-4 to force the first-to-ten tiebreaker. Krueger was up by as much as 7-4 before Skender came back to within one at 7-6. Krueger then scored the next two points before Skender got one to make it 9-7 in the tiebreaker. Krueger had the next serve and was able to score without a return.
At No. 5, the Chief’s Gage Stice defeated the Hounds Conrad Hellman again in a match that needed a tiebreaker. Stice won the first set 6-3, but Hellman came back to take the second set 6-4 forcing the tiebreaker, but Stice got up a couple serves and won 10-7.
Tim Shin secured the singles split when he dumped Keokuk’s Michael Simpson 7-6 (7-5) in the first set and an easier 6-1 win in the second.
The two teams split the doubles No. 1 and No. 2 matches with Seaney and Hernandez falling to Rider and Haner 2-6, 4-6.
Avery and Krueger got revenge in the No. 2 slot with a 6-4, 6-0 win and Hellman and Shin took Simpson and Skender into a tiebreaker after an easy first set win 6-1. Keokuk came back in the second set with a 6-7 win on a 5-7 tiebreaker and then took the match tiebreaker 10-5.
“There were three matches in there that could easily have gone either way and we were in a position to do it, we just couldn’t get the ball to drop in,” said Head Coach Dean Hogan.
The Hounds host Mt. Pleasant on Friday.
In junior varsity action, Blake Feuerhammer downed Cole Pirice after falling 5-7 in the first set before coming back in the second set with a 6-2 win and then won the two set tiebreak 10-7.