Revived doubles teams help GJ top Fruita
The weekend wasn’t exactly a disaster, but Tuesday was much better in the eyes of Grand Junction High School’s doubles players.
Grand Junction won all three of its duals last weekend in a season-opening boys tennis tournament hosted by Fruita Monument, but the Tigers’ 4-3 win over Fossil Ridge was earned despite losses in each of the first three flights of doubles.
The Tigers’ doubles players expect more from themselves, and they delivered Tuesday in Grand Junction’s 5-2 victory over Fruita Monument in Southwestern League play.
“Our doubles had to step up today,” Tigers coach Carol Elliott said. “We had a rough go of it last weekend. ... They didn’t look crisp, didn’t look as good as they could have. So, it was good to see them come out and play better today. ... We needed them to step up and play better, and they did.”
Grand Junction won the top two singles flights and claimed Nos. 1, 2 and 4 doubles against the Wildcats.
Max Proietti and Matt Prinster, the Tigers’ No. 1 doubles team, said some of the weekend’s doubles struggles could be attributed to being the first matches of the year with new pairings of players.
The senior duo is one such pairing. They’re familiar with doubles — Proietti played No. 2 doubles and Prinster No. 3 doubles a year ago — but they’re playing together for the first time on the Grand Junction varsity.
“Those were our first matches of the season,” Prinster said. “In doubles, you have to work a lot more on communicating, working together.”
Both said they could see the improvement Tuesday when they turned back Fruita’s Gabriel Treider and Kelson Reimer 6-2, 6-2.
“I think we were a lot more dialed in today, knew what we had to do,” Prinster said.
Proietti agreed and said he and Prinster knew what as at stake in the rivalry with the Wildcats.
“This was a big match because Fruita is a good team,” Proietti said.
Grand Junction’s Brian List and Matthew Ness teamed for a 6-2, 6-3 win at No. 2 doubles, and Ben Arja and Ian Hegstrom prevailed 6-3, 6-4 at No. 4.
In singles, Jacob Lapkin triumphed 6-2, 6-3 at No. 1, and Daniel Ness won 6-0, 6-0 at No. 2.
Fruita’s wins came in straight sets, 6-2, 6-0 at No. 3 singles from Scott Nolan, and 6-2, 6-2 from Colton Reimer and Sam Graf at No. 3 doubles.
Winning two matches marked progress, according to Wildcats coach Clint Davis, but he’d like more.
“I’m extremely frustrated, but Grand Junction is really good,” Davis said. “Looking on the bright side, I don’t think we’ve ever won two matches from Grand Junction in the last 10 years.
“We’re happy for the two, but that wasn’t our goal.”
Davis said the Wildcats have the potential to close the gap with the Tigers, adding, “I’m hoping we can improve and compete at every position.”
Palisade’s Danica DeLaHoz allowed an game-opening hit, then didn’t allow another as the Bulldogs beat Eagle Valley 10-0 in five innings in 4A Western Slope League play.
DeLaHoz didn’t allow a walk, hit one batter and struck out six as Palisade (1-3, 1-0 WSL) won its first game of the season.
Trenna Morgan and DeLaHoz had two hits apiece for the Bulldogs, and Paige Orman hit a triple in Palisade’s seven-run third inning.
Bulldogs coach Megan Stluka said DeLaHoz pitched an excellent game and the team hit the ball well, better than its total of seven hits suggests.
“(Eagle Valley) played some really good defense,” Stluka said. “We were hitting the ball hard, and they made some good plays.”