TERRE HAUTE —
Sometimes the final score doesn’t tell the whole story. Park Tudor defeated Terre Haute South 4-1 in the IHSAA boys’ tennis semistate at Center Grove Saturday morning. But that three-point margin doesn’t show how close the Braves came to advancing.
After Scott Kellar won the No. 3 singles match, South doubles teams of Reed Crawford and Trace Harruff and Matt Gonzalez and Luke Yeagley went three sets with Park Tudor before losing.
“Park Tudor, No. 3 [ranked] in the state, as far as I know, you lose to them 4-1 and two [three set matches]. [Number] two doubles that was a tough match. I was very proud of the boys,” South coach Bill Blankenbaker said.
Kellar, who transformed from a hard hitter early in the season to a human backboard by the middle of September, beat Park Tudor’s Ben Klapper 6-4, 6-3. Keller, a junior, just kept hitting the ball back to the middle of the court until Klapper made a mistake.
“[My game has] always been pretty much like that, but lately its been more for consistency against these good players that are big hitters to get it back. I was attacking the first set, but I was pumped [up]. The second set… that was the most tiring match I think I’ve ever played. My legs are so heavy right now,” Kellar said.
Kellar raced from one side of the court to the other, even jumped up against the fence to return some overhead smashes.
“Never give up. Fight for every point,” Kellar said.
And upon winning the final point, the normally quiet Kellar let out loud roar.
“I just let it all out at the end. Excited,” Kellar said.
“Tiring match. [Klapper was a] good player, but I did it for Jim Bogle, who passed away two days ago. Our whole team is dedicating our match to Jim Bogle,” Kellar said, pointing to the black ribbons worn by the South team.
Jim Bogle, Nathan Bogle’s father and a regular at South tennis matches, lost a two-year battle with cancer on Thursday. Nathan, a junior, honored his father’s wish and played the No. 1 singles match for South.
Bogle got off to a 2-1 start, but Park Turdor’s hard-hitting Dan Rayl won 6-2, 6-0.
“Nathan just played great. His father would have been proud of him. Nathan played a very good player. Nathan hit a good shot and the other guy [Rayl] would come up with a winner. [Rayl] is a good player and hopefully Nathan will be that player next year,” Blankenbaker said.
South’s Krishan Kumar took an early 2-1 lead on Park Tudor’s Scott Thygesen before falling 6-2, 6-4 at No. 2 singles.
After losing the first set 6-2, South’s No. 2 doubles team of Gonzales-Yeagley bounced back to win the second 6-3. Park Turdor’s Ravi Shah and Danny Hupfer won the deciding set 6-2.
South’s No. 1 doubles team of Crawford-Harruff won the first set 7-6 on a tie-breaker, 7-4. Park Tudor’s Jack McCarter-Alex French won the second 6-0. The third set was close all the way, but McCarter-French won 6-4.
With a tournament lineup that had just two seniors – Kumar and Crawford -- and counted on one sophomore, the Braves finished 19-5.
“[It was a] great year. We’ve dealt with a lot of things, injuries and everything else,” Blankenbaker said.
Park Tudor 4, Terre Haute South 1
Singles — Dan Rayle (PT) def. Nathan Bogle 6-2, 6-0; Scott Thygesen (PT) def. Krishan Kumar 6-2, 6-4; Scott Kellar (S) def. Ben Klapper 6-4, 6-3.
Doubles — Jack McCarter-Alex French (PT) def. Trace Harruff-Reed Crawford 6-7 (7-4), 6-0, 6-5; Ravi Shah-Danny Hupfer (PT) def. Luke Yeagley-Matt Gonzalez 2-6, 6-3, 6-2.
Next — Park Tudor advances to the IHSAA State Championships on Oct. 18 at Fishers High School. South finished the season 19-5.