The fact that Alex Barragan and Xavier Lopez were handling their singles responsibility for the better part of the season did not effect them as tennis players as the pair teamed up for a perfect 4-0 run with the Valley Oak League doubles title Thursday in Sonora.
Barragan and Lopez did not see their first challenge until the tournament’s final round, but Oakdale’s Anton Grenval and Daniel Dunning were not actually as close as the score would show, falling 7-5, 6-2 in the final match.
The duo came into the tournament as the No. 1 seed, edging out Manteca’s Oral Nunis and Max Angelo who were the tournament’s No. 2 seed. Nunis and Angelo’s run was cut short, falling in the third round to Sierra’s Josh Weiland and Joel Boiling 4-6, 6-4, 10-7.
“It was a tough loss for Max and Oral,” Manteca head coach Frank Fontana said. “They have been the consummate doubles partnership for the past two seasons and to end it so close was really tough to take.
“It was a tough one for me to watch, because you wanted them to win so bad and they were so close.”
Barragan and Lopez would close the deal for Manteca, jumping out to a lighting quick 5-1 lead in the first set and never looking back. The victory gives Barragan back-to-back doubles titles, taking the honor a year ago with teammate Alex McAdams and the program’s third in as many seasons. Yassen Aniss and Arnie Morales started the string in 2009.
“I think from them tying it up at 5-5 we went on to win the next eight points,” Fontana said. “We kind of panicked a little bit and was able to refocus again.
“And from that point they just rolled from there out.”
Barragan and Lopez will get a head start on their postseason, starting a few days earlier then their team postseason berth which will begin the following Monday against Livingston. The two will team up and press their luck in the always-challenging Sac-Joaquin Section Division II Individual Tournament Thursday.
“At the doubles section tournament I am expecting them to compete,” Fontana said. “There are no easy matches at that tournament. Even in the first round you are going to have to be ready to play.
“There are no suckers, no easy teams; you have to be ready to play from the first point.”
In the singles championship, Sierra’s Kevin Rausa fought valiantly, but came up short against Kimball High freshman Logan Staggs 2-6, 3-6. Staggs is one of the best players in Northen California, holding the No. 1 seed in the Nor Cal 16-year-old rankings.
The top three finishers in the doubles will advance to the section tournament along with Rausa and Staggs.