WORCESTER — A tournament season that seemed to have as many postponements as celebrations survived another interruption Monday, but the wait was worth it for BC High, which beat St. John’s of Shrewsbury, 3-2, in the Division 1 boys’ state tennis final.
“This match could have gone either way as both teams are very good,” BC High coach Lance Hutchinson said. “If we played them 10 times, they’d probably win five and we’d win five. They have a very good tennis team. Both teams are just so close. We have a lot of respect for them.”
The Pioneers battled against BC High, but were eventually done in by first-year singles player Charles Shewalter, who edged four-time Central Mass. singles champion Chris Ellis to put his team over the top.
The match began outside at Clark University and ended inside at the Paxton Sports Centre due to a thunderstorm.
St. John’s, losers in a state final for the fourth straight year, ended its season with a 23-2 record. Both losses came against BC High, which improved to 21-2. St. John’s, which had its 18-match winning streak snapped, went 1-2 against BC High. All three matches ended with the same score, 3-2.
“Four years — we seem to be very close — but no cigar,” St. John’s coach Ed Hippert said. “It’s nice to get here, but it seems like the depth overcomes us a little bit.
“We’re up against good depth and we have to try to manage that as best we can. I thought we had a good shot at them after splitting with them in the regular season. We thought it would come down to doubles.”
BC High scored its first point when the first doubles team of Charles Morris and Caye Tittmann defeated Wes Arnold and Dave Hennessy, 7-5, 6-4.
BC High won both doubles matches, tying the score, 2-2, with the Ellis-Shewalter match still in progress. The second doubles team of Bailey Ward and Justin McGaffigan provided the match-tying point when it toppled Nick Ellis and Alden Hosmer, 6-3, 7-6 (7-5).
Moments later, Shewalter prevailed, 6-4, 6-4.
Shewalter, 3-0 against Chris Ellis this year, played lacrosse last year as a freshman. He opted to try a different sport and has been dominant all season.
“The Shewalter-Ellis match was a good one,” Hutchinson said. “Chris Ellis is a tremendous player for them and never gives up. Fortunately, Shewalter was able to get a couple of mistakes out of Chris and put the match away. He’s had a great season for us.”
The Pioneers started well and held a 2-0 lead thanks to singles victories by seniors Lucas Tata and Dylan Fletcher. Tata defeated Sam Lahart, 6-1, 6-0, while Fletcher dispatched Jeremy Mendoza, 6-2, 5-2 (retired — injury).
“I felt good today and just went out there and played the best that I could,” Tata said. “I’m really happy to have played tennis at St. John’s, and have enjoyed all aspects of my career here. This year’s group was special and playing in states is something that I’ll never forget.”