With the match tied at 2-2, Kokomo’s No. 2 doubles tandem of Joey Hurlocker and Blake Bookshire outlasted Eastern’s Daniel Pugh and Riley Haupert in a marathon three-setter, 6-7 (6-7), 6-4, 7-5, to lift the Wildkats to a 3-2 victory over the Comets in Thursday’s semifinal round of the Kokomo boys tennis sectional.
Hurlocker and Brookshire trailed 4-3 on serve in the third set before winning four of final five games to pick up the victory.
“I’m really proud of those guys, Joey and Blake,” Kokomo coach Shawn Flanary said. “That’s a nerve-racking situation to be in and they handled it well. Really, this is the first time that six of our seven varsity players have played in a sectional match with us drawing the bye. That was a little concerning, and we came in a little nervous, but we overcame it and increased our level of play to where we could come out on top.”
Kokomo (7-12) swept doubles play on its way to the win. The No. 1 tandem of Erik Bowen and Brad Dockemeyer downed Zach Walker and Austin Chase 6-4, 6-2.
Craig Simon had the Kats’ other win, topping Ryan Manfred at No. 1 singles, 6-0, 6-2.
Eastern (10-12) picked up wins at No. 2 and No. 3 singles. Logan Colwell defeated Bryce York 6-3, 6-4 at the No. 2 post, while Robbie Walling was a 6-1, 6-1 winner over Grant Patterson at No. 3.
Kokomo will head into today seeking its third straight sectional crown when it faces Taylor. The Kats have defeated the Titans in each of the previous two sectional championship rounds.
“Our boys are excited,” Flanary said. “Taylor has a really strong team. They’ve done a lot of great things, and their record shows that. We’re excited to have another day of tennis where we will look to battle and prove ourselves. We know we will have our hands full with a very strong team.”