ST. JOSEPH — The last match of Wednesday’s tennis game between St. Joseph and Lakeshore caught everyone’s attention.

In No. 1 singles, St. Joseph’s Justice Waldmann edged Lakeshore’s Leyton Gaishin 6-3, 7-6 (0) to clinch an 8-0 win for the Bears at St. Joseph High School.

Players and fans from both sides gathered around to cheer as Waldmann and Leyton Gaishin were the only players left on the court.

Waldmann, the defending Division 3 regional champion, was able to outlast Leyton Gaishin, who is coming on strong after moving over from No. 2 doubles this year.

“I think they fought hard,” Lakeshore assistant coach Frankie Melcher said. “Our guys did well throughout the matches. The other team just pulled it out from other them.”

In No. 2 doubles, the St. Joseph tandem of Dylan Olsen and Will Christy overcame a loss in set one to defeat Josh Pauls and Rob Wessendorf 3-6, 6-1, 6-2.

“We have a lot of things to work on,” coach Patrick Hoffman said. “Watching a match like this just helps me evaluate where we are. Three weeks from now when we get to regionals, we’ll be a much better team.”

After losing nine seniors to graduation and 10 players total from last year’s team, the Lancers are putting the pieces together. Melcher likes what he’s seeing from his team.

“I think they’ve grown throughout the season,” Melcher said. “We started the season pretty rough. Through practices and matches, we sure have improved. Leyton has stepped up a lot; he played No. 2 doubles last year and is now playing No. 1 singles.

“We have a lot of freshmen who are playing tennis for the first time and they’ve all stepped up.”

The Bears have won 21 regional titles in 23 years and believe they have what it takes to win number 22.

“So far our strength has been the fact that we get production throughout the lineup,” Hoffman said. “It hasn’t just been one or two guys or doubles teams, it’s been everyone. Three of our four singles players return. We’re experienced; everyone moved up a spot. We always want to compete for a conference title and winning a regional is always a goal.

“We’ll break down what we did wrong today and get better. It’s what we do.”

St. Joseph 8, Lakeshore 0

Singles – 1. Justice Waldmann d. Leyton Gaishin 6-3, 7-6 (0), Kellen Lear d. Sam Bredeweg 6-0, 6-0, 3. Athan Gregory d. Ethan Mealman 6-1, 6-0, 4. Grant Banasik d. Cubby Wolf 6-1, 6-0.

Doubles – 1. Trey Beauchamp-Kaleb Parrett d. Tristan Ficks-Chad Fowler 6-2, 6-2, 2. Dylan Olsen-Will Christy d. Josh Pauls-Rob Wessendorf 3-6, 6-1, 6-2, 3. Steven Markert-Harsh Gupta d. Chuck Gaishin-Ishaan Gupta 6-2, 6-3, 4. Levi Beam-Tyler Romano d. Yash Gantun-Nolan Wilford 6-0, 6-1.

Record – St. Joseph 5-1 SMAC, 7-2.

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