ROCKINGHAM — A day after it snapped a three-game skid and won its first game of the season, the Richmond boys tennis team dropped a close one, 5-4, to conference foe Lumberton.
With both teams winning three singles each, Thursday’s result came down to who would win the battle of the doubles. Sophomore twins Austin and Miles Harrington gave the Raiders a point with their 8-3 victory in the No. 1 doubles, but Lumberton won both the No. 2 and No. 3 matches by a score of 8-6 to escape on the road.
“I feel like this was our most complete game this season,” head coach Patrick Hope said. “Lumberton only had one conference loss coming into today and it came all the way down to our No. 2 doubles.”
Although senior Jimmy Cooley and junior Kevin Campos were unable to triumph in the No. 2 doubles, they did win their respective singles. Cooley defeated Cole Lewis (6-2, 3-6, 10-8) at No. 2 and Campos took down C.J. Nemeroff (6-2, 7-6) at No. 6.
Freshman Bradford Pittman was the other Raider who grabbed a singles win, beating Quinton Frederick by a score of 6-1, 6-1 in the No. 5 singles. The freshman, who has two older siblings who played tennis at Richmond, has been a “bright spot” for the team — helping it avoid back-to-back shutouts against Pinecrest and Jack Britt.
“He has a really high tennis IQ and a change-of-pace style of play that kind of gets people off,” Hope said. “He has a good strategy about him and it’s working for him early.”
On Wednesday, Richmond earned its first win of the season at Hoke County. The 9-0 shutout featured Austin Harrington having to climb out of an early hole in the No. 1 singles after losing the first set (4-6). He would win the second set handily (6-1) and then escape the third (10-8) in order to beat Hoke’s Gabriel Williams.
“I thought Austin did a great job of coming back, forcing the tiebreaker and then winning it. I know that did a lot to boost his confidence, and for the whole team overall,” head coach Patrick Hope said. “We’ve played really, but the scores haven’t shown it. So to get the win (on Wednesday) really kind of validates what they’ve done so far.”
The Raiders grabbed two automatic wins, due to Hoke having to forfeit the No. 6 singles and the No. 3 doubles, but “still had to earn the other seven points.” Senior Jimmy Cooley (No. 2), sophomore Miles Harrington (No. 3), senior Kristofer Spivey (No. 4) and senior Jose Jaramillo (No. 5) all took care of business in their respective singles bouts — never allowing more than two points in a set.
The Harrington twins won the No. 1 doubles (8-3) and Cooley and Campos dominated the No. 2 doubles (8-1).
“I think we’re progressing well and learning a lot this first go-round in conference. By the second time around, hopefully we’ll have some things tightened up and are able to compete,” Hope added.
Richmond (1-4, 1-3 SAC) will play at conference rival Scotland next Wednesday, March 21.
Reach sports editor Leon Hargrove Jr. by phone at 910-817-2673 or by email at [email protected] For stories, scores and updates, follow the Daily Journal’s sports section on Twitter @RCDailySports.