Patriots edge out Pam Pack

Published 11:01 am Wednesday, March 25, 2009

By By BRIAN HAINES, Sports Writer
A grueling four-hour tennis battle between Washington and West Carteret, which began under a hot sun but ended with the temperature hovering slightly above 40 degrees, came down to one final doubles match as players and coaches from both sides watched the Pam Pack’s Brandon Washington and Colin Daw take on Ian Lader and Trenton Blaine.
Locked in a 4-4 tie, the Patriots’ duo of Lader and Blaine were able to hold off the Washington pair long enough to pull out a 5-4 victory Tuesday at Washington High School.
For the Pack, the loss was a critical one as it greatly steepened the odds of it making the postseason.
While the match may have appeared to be decided by the final game, Washington coach Michelle Elks said the determing factor was the team’s inconsistent play at the net.
Elks said the loss puts the Pack (3-4) in a must-win situation for the remainder of its 3-A schedule.
Washington’s No. 1 seed John Marshall Howard got the Pam Pack off to a hot start as he topped Andreas Bea 7-5, 7-6, but Washington’s No. 2 and three seeds each took losses.
Gray Stone lost a hard fought battle with Brian Norris 6-4, 6-3, while Matt Batchelor was defeated by Ian Lader 6-2, 6-3.
Fourth seed Josh Elks pulled out a 4-6, 6-4 (10-5) win over the Patriots, but No. 5 Brandon Washington was downed 6-0, 6-3 by Trenton Plaine.
Elks said Josh has been slumping lately, and that Thursday’s win was a step in the right direction.
Daw tied the game back up as he was able to pull out a marathon match with West Carteret’s Rob Toukey and earn a 6-7, 7-6 (10-2) victory.
The Pam Pack will look to rebound on Thursday when it plays at D.H. Conley, which is the ninth ranked 3-A team in the state.
West Carteret 5, Washington 4
John Marshall Howard (W) d, Andreas Bea; Brian Norris (WC) d. Gray Stowe 6-4, 6-3; Ian Lader (WC) d. Matt Batchelor 6-2, 6-3; Josh Elks (W) d. West Carteret 4-6, 6-4 (10-5); Trenton Blaine d. Brandon Washington 6-0, 6-3; Colin Daw (W) d. Rob Toukey 6-7, 7-6 (10-2).
Stowe/Batchelor d. Bea/Toukey 8-2; Norris/4 seed d. Howard/Elks 8-6; Lader/Blaine d. Washington/Daw 9-7.