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Lakers' young tennis guns ready to go

Nate Thompson • Jul 21, 2015 at 11:06 AM

“My serve has definitely improved,” Fedewa said after his 6-3, 6-0 victory over Fruitport’s Jon Sullivan on Wednesday at Spring Lake High School. “I’ve grown about six inches from last season, and that’s allowed me to hit the ball a lot harder. I’m looking to be more offensive this season.”

The Lakers mowed down the Trojans by a 6-2 final, helping them improve to 6-3 overall and 6-0 in conference action. The league slate is vastly different for the Trojans and Lakers this fall, due to several schools dropping tennis in the Lakes Eight Conference. Spring Lake coach Charlie Bassett and Fruitport coach Brad Busscher said their squads are now competing in the newly-formed Coastal Conference, which includes Lakes Eight holdover Ludington, along with Whitehall, North Muskegon and Western Michigan Christian.

“There will be a league tournament,” Bassett said. “There better be; we’re going for nine in a row (conference championships).”

Fedewa’s improved play could make that a reality, and has also helped the Lakers battle through a brutual early-season schedule that has included a pair of meetings against a solid Petoskey squad, a talent-filled home invitational, and tournament trips to Allegan and East Grand Rapids.

“We’re getting better,” Bassett insisted. “You have to get better with the people we’ve been playing. It’s definitely tested our kids.”

Fedewa, who improved his season record to 11-7 on Wednesday, said he trained at a tennis facility in DeWitt a couple times a week during the winter, then worked extensively on his game with Norton Pines’ tennis instructor Chris Wilton throughout the summer. The hard work has helped Fedewa not only gain strength, but consistency.

“My serve was just really on (against Sullivan),” Fedewa said. “I had no double faults the entire match. Well, maybe one.”

Bassett said the tough non-conference slate has also helped develop freshman Mitch Davis at No. 2 singles, who bested the Trojans’ senior Nolan Clark, 6-2, 6-4.

Davis displayed an impressive array of shots in his second set, including a nifty cross-court winner, and a drop shot at the net that left Clark frozen in his tracks.

“My mom (Leslie Davis) started teaching me when I was pretty young, I’m not even sure what age,” he said. “Then she signed me up with this program called InnerCity Tennis in Spring Lake Township and I’ve kept playing from there.”

“Mitch has a lot of potential,” Bassett said. “He’s kind of taken his lumps through our tough early stretch, but I really believe with him going through that, it helped him in this match. He’s had some close matches and lost and if you have enough of those, you learn in a hurry how to play to win.”

Fruitport’s bright spots came at No. 3 and 4 singles, where sophomore Alex Bowen pulled out a 7-5, 1-6, 6-4 victory over the Lakers’ Sean Dusterwinkle. Trojans’ senior Blake Hutson also needed three sets to finish off Spring Lake’s Patrick Wang, 6-2, 2-6, 6-2.

Spring Lake dominated in doubles play, as No. 1, 2 and 3 flights each ended in straight sets, while the Trojans had to foreit at No. 4 due to a lack of players. The returning senior duo of Nic Parnell and Michael Hartliep breezed to a 6-0, 6-0 final at No. 1; Harrison Palmer and Stuart Velarde scored a 6-2, 6-2 victory at No. 2; and Jonah Yoshonis and Eric Johnson prevailed 6-1, 6-0 at No. 3.

Bassett said his No. 3 doubles team and No. 4 team of Brenden Peel and Craig Pratt each played on JV a year ago and has been pleased with their adjustment to varsity play. They’ll need to continue to show improvement if Spring Lake wants to unset Petoskey at regionals later this season.

“It will be between Petoskey and us,” Bassett said. “Our doubles have been close both times, but if Ryan has a good day, maybe we can catch them.”

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