UA’s Ethan Samora relishes his first trip to the state tennis tournament
A regular-season schedule that included several matches against potential Division I playoffs provided Upper Arlington boys’ tennis junior Ethan Samora with the measuring stick he needed.
After going 1-1 at May 27 State at the Camargo Racquet Club in Cincinnati, Samora cited early losses to New Albany’s Declan Freedhoff and Olentangy Orange’s Parth Patel as much as later wins that gave him credit. earned his first place in the state. Freedhoff and Patel declared themselves doubles players.
“I started the season hard,” Samora said, referring to a 7-5, 6-4 loss to Freedhoff on April 7 and a 6-4, 6-4 loss to Patel on April 19. “But I ended up playing well at section and district, got a (#) 2 seed (as a district runner-up) and came here and did really well. Just everything went Everything has become a bit faster and a bit more consistent, which helps me win games.
Samora beat Avon’s Logan DeHaven 7-5, 6-1 in the first round before losing 6-0, 6-2 to Cincinnati Sycamore’s Nicholas Choo, who finished fourth.
It was the kind of turnaround Samora had been hoping for after a disappointing end to his sophomore season, when he and 2021 graduate Jack Jones lost a win before qualifying for state.
“It was kind of a revenge tour for him, beating guys (who) it didn’t work out last year,” coach Will Thieman said. “In general, he has just taken care of business this year. It’s hard to beat kids you know you’re supposed to beat and he does a good job of being more consistent and competitive. This is the biggest difference between this year and last year.
The Samora State Square also marked UA’s return to the state after a four-year absence. The Golden Bears have had at least one state qualifier every year from 1958 to 2018.
“(The District Tournament) was the best tennis he’s played all year,” Thieman said.
Samora lost to eventual state finalist and 2021 champion Brandon Carpico, an Ohio State pledge from Gahanna, 6-2, 6-2 in the district final on May 21 in Olentangy.
“A lot of it was about his maturity on and off the pitch,” Thieman said. “He really knows what he’s doing. He’s more patient. He works the point a bit more and just plays smart tennis. I talk about it all the time with the kids. You have to play to your strengths, not your weaknesses.”
Another district qualifier, rookie Jackson Lloyd, is eligible to return for UA, which went 7-5 overall and 2-3 in the OCC-Central Division. Sophomores Ford Clark and Luca Sivilotti are also expected.
•The Grandview Heights Baseball The program continued to progress with a loaded list of subclasses.
The 11th-seeded Bobcats finished 13-13 overall, losing to top-seeded Liberty Union 7-0 on May 24 in a Division III district semifinal. Last season they finished 8-18 and won three of four games before losing in the district semi-finals.
Grandview also won their first post-season game since 2015, edging 15th-seeded Mount Gilead 4-3 at home on May 19 in the second round. Sophomore designated hitter Beck Brockbrader led sophomore third baseman Graham Nelson with the deciding run in the bottom of the seventh inning.
“One thing we talked about last year was that part of the process was to play close games,” said coach Tyler Fitzgerald, who is entering his seventh season. “We improved on that this year, and it helped us win our first tournament match since 2015.”
Luke Clark-Moody (OF/2G; 11 RBI, 8 runs, 5 stolen bases), Joe Kessler (OF; 9 RBI, 10 runs, 6 stolen bases) and Max Mott (OF, .294, 11 RBI, 9 points) were the eldest.
“The seniors were a good, tight group that went through a lot,” Fitzgerald said. “They were there for the 19-8 team in 2019 and then COVID canceled their second season. The last two seasons have been positive and stable for us.
Junior Colin Cleary (second team all-MSL-Ohio) emerged as an ace, going 4-4 with a 1.90 ERA, 56 strikeouts and 18 walks in 44 1/3 innings. The right-hander threw a pair of hits — 14-1 in five innings on March 29 against Briggs and 16-0 in six innings on April 23 against Centennial. He also batted .298 with 12 RBIs and led the team in runs (29) and stolen bases (13).
Junior Jackson Larson (all-district honorable mention, all-league first team) led the team with a .341 batting average and 24 RBIs and scored 21 runs. He was also 2-6 with a 3.53 ERA, 46 strikeouts and 27 walks in 37 2/3 innings.
Freshman Michael Greer (OF/P) was 4-2 with a 1.24 ERA, 47 strikeouts and 18 walks in 45 1/3 innings and a .313 ERA. batting with 17 RBIs and 21 runs. Sophomore Charlie Ticknor (SS/P) batted .313 with 10 RBI and 24 runs and was 2-0 with a 1.69 ERA, 24 strikeouts and eight walks in 20 2/3 innings.
Sophomore wide receiver William Halberg (first-team all-league) hit .238 with 19 RBI and 18 runs, and Nelson hit .273 with 10 RBI and 12 runs.
“The core of the team should come back, including the entire infield,” Fitzgerald said. “We haven’t had a senior pitch an inning this season. We expect a lot back and most of them will be in their third season from college.
GRANDVIEW HEIGHTS BASEBALL
•Registration: 13-13 overall
• MSL-Ohio Ranking: Buckeye Valley (12-0), Worthington Christian (9-3), Bexley (8-4), Columbus Academy (7-5), Grandview (4-8), Wellington (1-11), Whitehall (1-11) )
•Lost Elders: Luke Clark-Moody, Joe Kessler and Max Mott
• Main returnees: Colin Cleary, Michael Greer, William Halberg, Jackson Larson, Graham Nelson and Charlie Ticknor
• Post-season: Def. Centerbourg 4-3; lost to Liberty Union 7-0 in Division III district semi-finals
UP ARLINGTON BOYS TENNIS
•Registration: 7-5 overall
• OCC-Centrale classification: Olentangy Orange (5-0), Olentangy Liberty (4-1), Dublin Coffman (3-2), Upper Arlington (2-3), Hilliard Bradley (1-4), Hilliard Davidson (0-5)
•Lost Elders: Ryan Baxley, Mihai Crisan, Daniel Goldberg, Joe Saalman and Tyson Smith
• Main returnees: Ford Clark, Jackson Lloyd and Ethan Samora