By Justin Sokeland
BEDFORD – Finally at full strength, Bedford North Lawrence posted an impressive victory on Monday afternoon.
Powered by a doubles sweep, the Stars conquered Columbus East by a 3-2 count, celebrating the return of key players that allowed BNL to showcase its expected firepower with the expected lineup. After constant shuffling and scuffling, BNL had a much smoother route to a quality win.
“We are excited and anxious to work and improve as a full team again,” BNL coach Chris Kurtz said. “It feels good.”
Cameron Gratzer and Jayden Kemp paced the dominant doubles with a 6-1, 6-1 triumph over Lincoln West and Tyler Ernst at No.1. Caleb Jones and Nate Pemberton stayed hot (and that was easy to do on a sweltering day on the asphalt courts) with a 6-1, 6-0 win over Jacob Dettmer and Henry Ulrich at No.2.
“We were just trying to make sure we kept the pedal down and didn’t play down to their level,” Gratzer said. “We just kept it rolling. The key was consistency, making sure we played to our level.”
The other key was staying cool and conserving energy. That was Steven Graham’s strategy at No.1 singles as he zipped past Derek Heideman 6-0, 6-0.
“I just kept it in, and he missed the shots,” Graham said. “That’s what I was hoping for. He made the mistakes and I won the point.”
“We had really great play tonight from a lot guys,” Kurtz said. “Steven was in total control of his game, and the match. His opponent is a very skilled player, so that’s a big win. Both doubles teams settled in, and were very thoughtful with strategy and ball placement. We are really happy with the way those spots are shaping up.”
The Olympians claimed the lower singles as Matthew Degner clipped Graham Turner 6-4, 7-5 at No.2, while Brady Redelman stopped Carter Kimmel 6-4, 6-0 at No.3.
BNL will visit Jennings County on Tuesday.
BNL 3, Columbus East 2
1 Steven Graham, BNL d. Derek Heideman 6-0, 6-0
2 Matthew Degner, CE d. Graham Turner 6-4, 7-5
3 Brady Redelman, CE d. Carter Kimmel 6-4, 6-0
1 Cameron Gratzer and Jayden Kemp, BNL d. Lincoln West and Tyler Ernst 6-1, 6-1
2 Caleb Jones and Nate Pemberton, BNL d. Jacob Dettmer and Henry Ulrich 6-1, 6-0