Wildcats edged out by Bakersfield Christian by one

In a four-hour battle for tennis dominance in the South Sequoia League, Bakersfield Christian edged Taft High, 5-4, on Tuesday.

“The boys’ team had not beaten Bakersfield Christian in its nine-year history but I really thought we would do it this time,” lamented Taft coach Jim Carnal. “And I’m sure we would have but the Eagles showed up with a new player at No. 1, Chris Wallace, a junior transfer from Templeton High School. He made all the difference.”

Still it was a razor-thin victory with ebbs and flows that even had Bakersfield Christian coach Frank Thiessen questioning out loud if the Eagles would win.

Wallace beat Rafa Arreguin, 6-2, 6-0, in the No. 1 singles. Tanner Harris beat Taft’s Cameron Bunch, 6-2, 6-2. Taft lost a key, seesaw match at No. 3 singles when Nicolo Dawg was just a tad steadier than Chuy Gutierrez, 6-2, 5-7, 10-8. Taft swept the bottom three singles. Cristo Miranda beat Brandon Paw, 7-6 (7-5), 6-1. Kyler Fields beat Brad Robinson, 6-2, 6-4. And, Isaiah Sharp had little trouble with Brandon Vincent, 6-2, 6-1.

Tied at 3-3 after singles, each team needed to win two of the three doubles matches. Taft’s Brayan Herrera and Pastor Magana were the first ones off the court with a 6-1, 6-1 rout of Nelson Chandler and Zach Banducci at No. 3 doubles.

Wallace and Daug were too much for Arreguin and Bunch at No. 1 doubles, 6-4, 6-2.

As evening turned to night, the crowd gravitated to the No. 2 doubles match that would decide the winner. Taft’s Gutierrez and Miranda dropped a close first set, 6-4, to Harris and Paw but fought back to send the second set to a seven-point tiebreaker. The tiebreaker shifted back and forth with a couple of set points eluding Taft as it went into overtime. Finally, when BCHS had a match point, they converted to win, 6-4, 7-6 (11-9).

Taft dropped to 1-1 overall and 0-1 in the SSL. BCHS improved to 1-0 overall and 1-0 in the SSL.

Taft had a much easier time in the JV contest, outscoring BCHS, 96-9 in games, for the 9-0 shutout.

The closest match was at No. 1 singles where Elver Zavala beat Jag Gill, 6-2, 6-2. Justin Covington shut out Kevin Wang, 6-0, 6-0. Samuel Kendrick beat Geoff Bruick, 6-0, 6-1. Sergio Robles bageled Brain Tran, 6-0, 6-0. Phuc Nguyen beat Cody Allen, 6-1, 6-1. And, Ernesto Moron bageled Owen Yang, 6-0, 6-0.

In doubles, Kendrick and Robles beat Spencer Reynen and Brian Sease, 8-0. Nguyen and Moron beat Jove Ho and William Crockett, 8-0. And, Mario Quiroga and Denilson Portillo beat Allen and Ray Jin, 8-2.

Taft’s JV improved to 1-1 overall; 1-0 in the SSL. BCHS dropped to 0-1 overall and 0-1 in the SSL.