EAST CHICAGO | The remnants of Hurricane Isaac might have temporarily drowned out the last round of the Hammond Classic Invitational, but it couldn’t dampen the spirits of those team involved.
“Just a little setback,” E.C. Central coach Dave Lane said when the rain started about 11:30 a.m. “We’ll be back on the court in an hour or so.”
More like a week or so. The hurricane-induced storms picked up intensity over the next hour, and the championship round of the match was rescheduled for next Friday.
E.C. Central, Clark, Gavit, Bishop Noll, and Morton participated in the event. Even though the rain shortened the tourney, everyone was on board to quickly get the last round rescheduled.
“This is a great tournament for smaller tennis schools like us,” Gavit coach Meg Doughman said. “The boys get an opportunity to play equal competition in a different format than a normal dual match.”
The invite format is a random draw where all players at a position compete in double-elimination play. Winners at each position accumulate points for the team. So players can win individual trophies, and the team can also pull out a championship.
“The boys like this format quite a lot,” Noll coach Steve Tapia said. “We’ve used it the last couple of years, and it seems to work well for us.”
At No. 3 singles, Noll’s Donovan Hayes won the individual championship with a 6-1, 6-1 win over Morton's Tyler Schramm.
“An exciting match; a great win for our team,” Hayes said. “I like that my efforts give the team points as well. It amps up the competition level.”
At No. 1 singles, Morton's Michael Hernandez was squaring off against E.C. Central's Fabian Garcia before the rain halted second round play. The winner will face Bishop Noll's Spencer Hickey in the championship match.
Gavit’s Hector Calderon won the No. 1 singles consolation round with an 8-4 pro set win over Clark's Josh Miller.
Four of the five teams will see each other in sectional play in late September.
“The invite is good for a number of reasons,” Morton coach Chuck Perez said. “It gives us an opportunity to play against other local schools. It also lets us see what the competition will be like for the postseason.”
Play will resume Friday at 4:30 p.m. at the E.C. Central tennis courts.