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Deimler nets second L-L bronze
Pairs with Newberry to win silver in doubles
For Warwick senior Tony Deimler, playing Conner Merrill of Manheim Central on Monday was akin to playing a bulldog.
“He doesn’t quit,” Deimler said. “He’s a fighter.”
That was evident on Monday afternoon as the two faced off for the L-L League singles Flight One Triple-A bronze medal at Conestoga Valley High School. Deimler eventually prevailed 6-4, 5-7, 6-4, but not without a real battle.
The marathon match lasted just five minutes shy of three hours.
“I’m exhausted,” Deimler (14-1) acknowledged. “It was definitely the most taxing match I’ve ever played.”
Somehow, he had to dig deep to play in the Flight One doubles finals with senior teammate Luke Newberry against Hempfield’s No. 1-seeded Derek Hagino and Tommy Athey. The Warriors’ second-seeded team gave the Black Knights all they could handle, but suffered a 7-5, 6-1 setback.
“Hempfield is, by far, the best team in the league,” Deimler said. “Derek can hit shots anywhere on the court. Him and Tommy Athey, his partner, work so well together. So for Luke and I to hang with them throughout the match, that’s a victory for us.”
Deimler, seeded No. 1 in Flight One singles, hung with Cedar Crest’s 4th-seeded Colin Muraika in Saturday’s semi-finals. Unfortunately, however, he suffered his first loss of the season, dropping a 6-2, 6-4 loss in the match. Muraika then went on to defeat Hagino 3-6, 6-4, 6-2 in the finals.
A year ago, Deimler defeated Muraika 6-4, 6-4 to win the L-L bronze medal.
“I had aspirations to make it to the finals,” Deimler admitted, “but in my loss on Saturday, I wasn’t playing my best tennis and Colin’s playing great tennis &tstr; he really is. It was a good reality check for me that nothing’s given. You’ve got to take each point at a time, fight, play your game. While I never like to lose, it was, I think, for the better going into the rest of the post-season. I think it was good that it happened to me then.”
Preparing for Merrill on Monday, Deimler bounced back nicely. Capitalizing on a strong serve and making all of his shots, he took the early advantage with his first-set 6-4 win.
Merrill, though, picked up his game in the second and sent it to the limit with a 7-5 decision.
The third set was more of the same, with neither player giving an inch and grinding for every point. But Deimler was able to outlast his friend by a 6-4 decision to clinch the bronze.
No doubt, Merrill displayed the talents that enabled him to breeze to straight-set wins in his first two matches, defeating Lebanon’s Christian Maldonado-Torres (6-0, 6-0) and CV’s Nathan Amspacher (6-3, 6-2). He suffered a 6-2, 6-2 loss to Hagino in the semi-finals.
“Connor is one of the most physical players that I’ve ever had to play against,” said Deimler, who earlier defeated Ephrata’s Lucas Olson (6-0, 6-1) and Athley (6-1, 6-0) in his first two matches. “He’s great at playing defense on the court. There was a point where against anyone else, I would have hit four winners in a row and he gets and he puts it back that I can’t hit another offensive shot with it.”
The strength of Deimler’s game is his backhand shot and he was able to capitalize on that against Merrill.
“When my serve’s working, that’s huge,” Deimler remarked, “and (my backhand) came together in really clutch situations.”
In the doubles match, Deimler and Newberry were tied with the Hagino/Athey team 5-5 in the first set before the Knights won the next two games.
“(Hagino) is just one of the flashiest players in the league,” Deimler said. “It’s fun to watch and it’s honestly fun to play against because it’s unbelievable what he can do.”
Although Hempfield went on to clinch it with a 6-1 second-set win, the play was closer than the final score indicated.
“I couldn’t be happier to have Luke as a doubles partner from sophomore year to now,” Deimler said.
Warwick senior Caleb Setlock (11-4) also advanced to the finals in Flight Four, where he dropped a 6-4, 6-3 loss to Lancaster Mennonite’s Seth Weaver. Earlier, he defeated E-town’s Dan Husmann (6-1, 6-2), Central’s Galen Fitzkee (6-3, 6-2) and Hempfield’s top-seeded Jay Cooke (3-6, 7-5, 10-3).
In Flight Two, Newberry (9-4) reached the semi-finals with his 6-0, 6-0 shutout of A-C’s Luc Neumann, but then fell in a tough three-set match against Township’s Dan Ansel (6-3, 3-6, 10-8).
Central’s Blake Martin opened with a 6-1, 6-1 win over McCaskey’s Grant Sprunger, then dropped a 6-4, 6-2 decision to Lancaster Catholic’s 4th-seeded Tommy O’Brien in the quarters.
At Flight Three, Warwick’s Matt Pennypacker (5-3) defeated A-C’s Colin Myers 6-0, 6-1 in the first-round, then gave top-seeded Calvin Athey of Hempfield all he could handle in a 3-6, 6-1, 10-8 loss. MC’s Nathan Boyer fell 6-3, 6-1 in the opening round to LMH’s 2nd-seeded Juan David Gomez.
In Flight One Triple-A doubles, Central’s 5th-seeded Merrill/Martin team won in the first-round 6-3, 6-4, then suffered a 6-1, 6-4 quarterfinal defeat to Township’s Belser and Ansel.