COLUMBUS – The LaGrange Grangers lost to the Columbus Blue Devils the first two times they met on the tennis court this season.
In the third and most important meeting of the season, though, the Grangers had the upper-hand.
In the Region 1-AAAAA title match on Thursday, it was LaGrange coming away with a 4-1 victory to secure the championship.
After the previous two losses, LaGrange coach Kenny Moore decided to shake things up in the lineup.
Senior Connor Mahan, LaGrange’s usual number one singles player, was shifted to number one doubles where he teamed up with Jas Singh.
Moore’s hope was that with Mahan’s presence, LaGrange would be able to win at number one doubles after falling short in the previous matches against Columbus.
“Connor, who’s been our number one player for three years, to breathe some new lift into the situation, we asked him to play doubles,” Moore said. “So he and Jas were our number one doubles team. Columbus had a really good number one doubles team. We thought that if Connor played one doubles, then we might could turn that match around. And at the same time, not hurt the singles. So that’s what happened.”
After winning the first set 8-6 in a tie-breaker, Mahan and Singh beat Kyle Canady and Jacob Sholtis 6-3 in the second and final set.
That victory was the one that clinched the team win for LaGrange.
“Connor just really was a beast,” Moore said. “He just took over the match. It was pretty tough, but Connor just really played like the leader of our team. He saved his best for last.”
LaGrange also got a big win at number two singles, with freshman Pierce Skinner beating Ford Cummings 7-5, 6-2.
“He played probably the best match of his life,” Moore said of Skinner. “He had a real tough first set and won it 7-5. He got started off on a good foot in the second set, and crushed that kid’s confidence, and won 6-1. That was pretty awesome.”
LaGrange also got a win at number three singles, with Tony Choi handling Harrison Brown 6-1, 6-3.
At number two doubles, it was Tiger Lakhwani and Gavin Battle beating Chris Sidor and Parker Swift in three sets, 6-2, 4-6 and 6-2.
Columbus got its lone win at number one singles, with Jacob Yates outlasting Blade Kendall 6-2, 6-3.
“That was really fun,” Moore said. “They’d beaten us twice this year, 3-2 both times. But you could tell. They were pretty confident.”
It was also a winning day for LaGrange’s girls’ team, which beat Harris County 3-2 to secure the region’s third seed for the upcoming state tournament.
Harris County won two of the three singles matches, but LaGrange won both doubles matches to get the narrow win.
At number one singles, it was Euna Oh beating Erika Klar 6-4, 6-4.
LaGrange’s number one doubles team of Kaylee Key and Lizzie Wilkerson beat Jessica Moore and Clair Hudson 6-4, 6-1, and Kelsey Anne Cadenhead and Lauren Yarbrough beat Abbey Grooms and Morgan Dryman 6-4, 6-3 at number two doubles.
In the number two singles match, Harris County’s Halee Swords topped Abigail Brock 6-2, 6-3, and LaGrange’s Abbi Lynn Lanier fell to Sydney Weisenburger 7-5, 6-2 at number two singles.
The state tournament begins next week, with the Lady Grangers going on the road for their first-round matchup, while the Grangers will be at home.
Reach Kevin Eckleberry at (706) 884-7311 or on Twitter @lagrangesports