Team opens up play Tuesday as No.1 seed while six players go to Individual Area May 9 and 10
On Monday, the Taft Union High School varsity boys’ tennis team earned the No. 1 seed in the Division IV team playoffs. The announcement came on the heels of the South Sequoia League’s individual playoffs hosted by Taft on Thursday and Friday.
Tennis playoffs branch off into two paths: team and individual.
As far as team playoffs, Taft, 20-4, will have an opening round bye on Thursday and then host the winner between No. 8 seed Central Valley Christian and No. 9 Yosemite. That quarterfinal match will be at Taft at 4 p.m. Tuesday, May 6. CVC beat Taft in the Valley finals there last year, 5-4. If Taft wins that potential rematch, the Wildcats would then probably host No. 4 seed Madera South on Thursday, May 8. If Taft wins that semifinal match, the Wildcats would host the finals on Wednesday, May 14, probably against No. 2 seed Immanuel.
Other seeded teams are: No. 3 Chowchilla, No. 5 Kerman, No. 6 Wasco, No. 7 Mira Monte and No. 10 Fowler.
On the individual playoff side, Taft advanced all six eligible players to the Area (Kern County) Tournament May 9 and 10 at Garces.
Number 2 seed Chuy Gutierrez and Cristo Miranda finished second in the SSL doubles by beating Carl Mateo and Pedro Ahumada of Cesar Chavez, 6-0, 6-1; Nicho Hernandez and Alejandro Watson, Arvin’s No. 2 and 3 players, 6-0, 6-0; No. 4 seed Brandon Paw and Brad Robinson of Bakersfield Christian, 6-3, 6-1; before falling to No. 1 seed, Tanner Harris and Nocolo Daug of BCHS, 6-2, 6-3.
Taft’s Rafa Arreguin and Cameron Bunch finished third in the SSL doubles by beating Joshua Corpuz and Mathew Palomo of Robert F. Kennedy, 6-0, 6-0; and Joel Rodriguez and Carlos Carriedo of Wasco, 6-3, 6-2; losing to Harris and Daug, 6-4, 6-1; and, beating Paw and Robinson, 6-4, 6-2.
Number 4 seed Kyler Fields, a junior, had a good run, finishing third in singles in the SSL. He beat Octavio Jimenez of Arvin, 6-0, 6-0; and Shafter’s No. 1 player Steven Hiebert, a senior, 6-2, 6-3; losing to No. 1 seed, Chris Wallace of BCHS, 6-3, 6-3; and beating No. 3 seed, Joel Rojas, Cesar Chavez’s No. 1 player. Rojas won the first set 7-5, but had to retire when he cramped up and could not continue.
Taft’s Isaiah Sharp did not medal, but he did make the cut to qualify for the Area Tournament by finishing sixth in the SSL. He beat Rainer Lagula, RFK’s No. 2 player, 6-0, 6-0; lost to Rojas in a marathon three-setter, 2-6, 6-3, 6-2; beat Arvin No. 1 Manrico Cabaloza, 3-6, 6-4, 6-3; but then fell to Hiebert, 6-4, 6-2.