Morenci tennis boys edge Duncan 5-4 in season opener

Raymundo Frasquillo Photo/Gila Herald: Josh Biggs attacks the ball during a return attempt in the season opener in Duncan on Feb. 28. The No. 3 seed defeated his counterpart sophomore Cutter Scarcella 6-2 and 6-3. The Wildcats left Duncan with a 5-4 win. Duncan is at Thatcher Thursday, March 3 and Morenci is one of four teams taking part in the Duncan-held all-day H.T. Clothier Invitational Saturday, March 5.

By Raymundo Frasquillo

DUNCAN – The Morenci tennis boys edged Duncan 5-4 during both teams’ season openers on Feb. 28.

Willcox blanked Safford 9-0 and Benson downed Saint David 3-1 on Feb. 24; Willcox shut out Pima 9-0 in a section match; Anthem Prep defeated Thatcher 8-1, and Tucson Desert Christian defeated Benson 8-1 on March 1; and Thatcher defeated Tucson Pusch Ridge Christian 7-2 on March 2.

Through the initial seven days competition started, the Division III – Section I member standings are Willcox first 2-0 in seeding matches and 1-0 in section matches, Morenci second (1-0, 0-0), Thatcher third (1-1, 0-0), Duncan fourth (0-1, 0-0), Pima fifth (0-1, 0-1), Safford sixth (0-1, 0-0), and Benson seventh (0-2, 0-0).

Raymundo Frasquillo Photo/Gila Herald: Logan Basteen accepts balls from Morenci junior Jarel Diaz. The Duncan top seed won both singles and doubles pairings.

The Wildkats are at Thatcher and Pima at Benson for section matches, and Safford is at Miami and Willcox hosts Saint David on Thursday, March 3. Pima is at Miami on Friday, March 4.

Morenci’s next outing is at the all-day Duncan-held H.T. Clothier Invitational on Saturday, March 5, beginning at 8 a.m. Saint David (3-0, 2-0 Section III) and Tombstone (0-1, 0-1 Section III) comprise the four participating teams.

Morenci – 5, Duncan – 4

Raymundo Frasquillo Photo/Gila Herald: Bryant Rapier has his focus on a serve during the season opener against Morenci on Feb. 28. The Duncan No. 2 seed prevailed in both singles and in doubles matches against Morenci.

Duncan won four of seven head-to-head pairings but lost the match having to forfeit once in singles and once in doubles. The host Wildkats fielded five players instead of six, forfeiting the No. 6 singles match and the No. 3 double match.

Morenci won two singles and two doubles pairings. The Wildcats’ No. 3 junior Josh Biggs and No. 5 sophomore Ryan Biggs both won singles pairings, 6-2 and 6-3 over sophomore Cutter Scarcella and 6-0 twice over senior Tucker Reynolds, respectively.

Forfeits were awarded to No. 6 singles freshman Tristan Burke and the No. 3 duo of Ryan Biggs – Burke.

Duncan singles wins were by top seed junior Logan Basteen 6-1 and 6-3 over junior Jarel Diaz, by No. 2 junior Bryant Rapier 7-5 and 6-4 over sophomore Andrew McCullum, and by No. 4 junior Artie Lemons in a 10-4 tie-breaker (0-6, 7-6) over sophomore Jakob Camacho. The doubles win was 8-4 by No. 1 Basteen – Rapier over Diaz – Josh Biggs.