Members of the Charlestown Tennis team set a very specific goal in August: Win Sectional. On Friday afternoon, they did exactly that and it was the first title in 51 years for the Pirates.
In the first round of the sectional, the Pirates downed Henryville 4-1 sweeping the singles matches and winning at No. 2 doubles. The championship then began on Thursday afternoon, but was suspended by rain with Silver Creek holding a 2-1 lead having sealed victories at No. 1 singles and No. 1 doubles, while Charlestown’s Dawson Boyd defeated the Dragon’s Josiah French 6-3, 6-4 at No. 3 singles. All that was left to determine the match was No. 2 singles and No. 2 doubles.
Heading into the delayed finish on Friday, Alex Wright lead one set and was tied at 5-5 at No. 2 singles. He went on to defeat Zach Milton in the next two games to win 6-1, 7-5 and tie the match up at 2-2.
The sectional title came down to the No. 2 doubles match of Charlestown’s Clayton Rothbauer and Eric Wigginton against Silver Creek’s Jarrett Garr and John Hurley. Rothbauer and Wigginton had gone 8-0 in Mid Southern Conference play in the regular season with Silver Creek being the only school they did not compete against due to a quarantine. The Pirates’ and Dragons’ No. 2 doubles teams were tied a set and tied 2-2 in games with Rothbauer serving 15-love as play resumed on Friday. The Pirates’ duo came out with a hot start and quickly took a 5-2 lead over the Dragons, but dropped the next two games to make it 5-4. In the final game, the Pirates took a 40-15 lead then a missed shot into the net by Silver Creek would give the Pirates their second sectional title in school history as Rothbauer and Wigginton would win 6-4, 1-6, 6-4 at No. 2 doubles.
Charlestown Coach Scott Matthews said, “We just tried to keep the ball in play and not think about the outcome and just play points. And that’s what we did.”
Eric Wigginton, the 4th year senior for the Pirates, told WPMQ staff back in August that tennis was “serious business this year” and that the goal was to win a sectional. After the match he said, “It feels good to take down a powerhouse in tennis with their many sectionals and this being only our second one ever. I think they won like 29 in a row or something before Borden beat them last year. We wanted our shot at them and we got it and took advantage of it. We said all along this was our year.”
We asked Wigginton about the emotions of winning the first set, losing the second, getting delayed, coming out hot, then dropping two games before finishing it off and he said, “We just had to stay focused. Going up 40-15, I felt a wave of confidence because Alex [Wright] had won so I encouraged our teammates who were watching to get up because I knew Clayton [Rothbauer] and I were ready to end it right there too.”
Charlestown advances to the Silver Creek Regional on Tuesday where they will face Jeffersonville at 4:30 p.m. There is an admission fee of $5.
Members of the Pirate tennis team are seniors Carter Getz, Michael Gillooly (1S), Clayton Rothbauer (2D) and Eric Wigginton (2D); juniors Brandon Broady (1D), Nathan Smith, Jacob Whitten, and Alex Wright (2S); sophomore Dawson Boyd (3S); and freshmen Nick Broady, Jackson Shearer, Ryan Sipes, and Jackson Snelling (1D). The Pirates are coached by Scott Matthews and James Broady.
Story and photos contributed by WPMQ Staff.