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Morning Sun
  • Captain America and the golden set: Pittsburg tennis wins home invitational

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  • Captain America and the golden set.
    Two of the highlights of the Pittsburg Invitational on Thursday at Lincoln Park.
    Nick "Captain America" Powers and No. 1 doubles partner Micah Hashman won the title, No. 1 singles Logan Benham defeated Bishop Miege's Michael Wood in the finals and No. 2 singles Adrian McAfee won a golden set (winning all 32 points) en route to his individual title.
    Pittsburg won its home tournament with 30 points, ahead of Bishop Miege at 26, Iola 14, Fort Scott 7, Labette County 7 and Columbus 1.
    "I'm very happy because No. 1, Bishop Miege is a very good team," Pittsburg head coach John Seal said. "They played a tournament yesterday and beat St. Thomas Aquinas 4-0. To win the two singles 8-2 and dominate there and our No. 1 doubles just played fantastic, best they've played all year. No. 2 doubles played great. They really did. So, we're coming together and we're starting to play really good.
    "The one thing I see is that if we challenge ourselves to play these better tournaments, we're playing better. To be a champion you have to play champions and we've decided to do that. That's why we're doing it."
    Tournaments this week included Arkansas City on Tuesday and Topeka Hayden on Friday.
    In No. 1 singles, Benham defeated Iola's Tyler Heinrich 8-0, Columbus' Ross Westervelt 8-0 and Wood 8-2.
    "Logan Benham, don't ever think he can't beat anybody because he can play with anyone," Seal said. "He's learning the game and he is a star at No. 1 singles for us right now. He really is, he's playing great. He can beat anybody if he plays well. I have a lot of confidence in that spot."
    McAfee defeated Iola's Isaiah Fawson 8-4, Columbus' Alex Porter 8-0 and Bishop Miege's Will Grier 8-2.
    "Adrian McAfee's a very solid singles player," Seal said. "He's stepped up his game. He can hit the ball. He's really another No. 1 but we can only play one kid at No. 1. But, he's a really good player. . . . Adrian McAfee did have a golden set. That's when you don't allow your opponent to score. If you don't think that's important, the kid that he had the golden set against won his next match. So, it wasn't like he didn't play anybody. That's a goal in all tennis players."
    Hashman-Powers defeated Iola's Colby Works-Bryan Mueller 8-1, Columbus' Mac Jameson-Gage Riker 8-0 and Bishop Miege's Tom Anjard-Nate Mohler 8-3.
    "The sky's the limit," Seal said. "Captain America can do it for us and so can Hashman, he's playing well for us. They play so well together and they complement one another. They are probably two of the best athletes I've ever had in my entire career, college or high school. They're a force and they'll be a force for another year. We're really happy at how well they're playing."
    Page 2 of 2 - No. 2 doubles Hank Cloninger-Josh Dial finished second, defeating Iola's Mason Key-Rhett Allen 8-1 and Columbus' Zach Stewart-Jared Wilde (Pittsburg athletes competing for Columbus to complete the pool) 8-1 but lost 8-3 to Bishop Miege's Luke Powell-John Schultz.
    "Hank Cloninger and (Josh) Dial, they've got better," Seal said. "They went 3-2 in a big tournament in Ark City, they go 2-1 today and played great. They're getting better. Cloninger shows tremendous leadership. It's like having a coach out there. He's really good with Josh. Josh is getting better, not only because Josh works hard, he's doing it because Hank's helping him. I'm really happy with them. They're going to surprise somebody that's really good."
    Another Pittsburg doubles team, Will Jewett and Zach Dee, finished third in No. 2.
    "Not a surprise," Seal said. "They're good players. Got some ability. They're coming up. Tip of the iceberg. They're about halfway there. . . . We're not six deep. We've got seven-eight-nine kids that can play. We have a good JV squad and we're playing varsity with them. I want them to play a lot of tennis."
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