BY CHUCK VANDENBERG
PCC EDITOR – “Man that kid’s fast. He should be running the 100 or somethin’,”.
Those were the words from Ballard High’s Mark Moser as he left the court at Saturday’s Iowa high school state tennis meet in Waterloo, after downing Fort Madison’s Johnny Hernandez and Dante Seaney 6-1, 6-4.
Seaney had just jumped about six feet up the back fence to get to an overhead smash from Moser that ended the match. The Hounds were down 2-4 in the second set before rallying and taking the next two out of three trying to force a 3rd set. Seaney and Hernandez are used to tracking balls down in their doubles matches.
In the previous game of the second set, a 15-stroke rally was stretched when Hernandez went to the fence to get to slam and kept the ball in play in a point won by the Hounds to get some momentum going.
After pushing the set to 4-5 the Ballard duo of Moser and Brody Echer proved to be too much from the service line and won the last game to send the Bloodhound duo back to Fort Madison.
The first set was over quickly at 6-1 with Seaney and Hernandez not being able to find their usual energy and momentum, the same combination that allowed them to blow through the district doubles tournament with out losing a match.
Hernandez said he and Seaney weren’t on the same page at times during the matches.
“Maybe one of the thing we could have done better was communication,” Hernandez said. “And a lot of my volleys weren’t on point today.”
Seaney said the competition was beyond anything they had seen this year.
“This is very different,” Seaney said. “There’s a lot more people. It’s different. We don’t have this kind of competition in southeast Iowa. Our conference is a smaller conference for tennis and these guys are very good and have been training for a very long time. We just picked up our rackets three years ago.”
Head Coach Dean Hogan said the boys should be proud of how far they’ve come and they have enjoyed the tournament.
“It’s the experience itself. Being the only two boys in school out here facing these boys that have had a lot more experience then our kids. And they came back – another game and they may have had the opportunity to win that last set,” he said.
“The set their goals high because I asked them to and they expected more of themselves. They think they didn’t play as well as they could have, but it’s the nerves and emotion of this and they aren’t used to that level. They should be proud of what they did up here.”
Both Seaney and Hernandez are going into the military after high school. Seaney, an Holy Trinity grad will be going into the U.S. Marine Corp in two weeks and Hernandez, who graduates from FMHS Saturday will be joining the national guard at the end of June.