PORTLAND – Andrew Marden called the ball out.

He knew as soon as he did that he was wrong.

“I didn’t mean to call it out,” Marden said. “After I did it, I didn’t know what to do.”

His doubles partner, Christian Ouellette, saw the ball in, too.

As Marden raced through all of the possible scenarios in his head, it was Ouellette, a senior who had played sparingly all season, who made the next move.

“I saw it a little bit better than Andrew saw it, I think,” Ouellette said. “I made the call, and overruled my partner, which is tough. I didn’t want him to take it personally, but I didn’t want to lose or win with even a hint of being a cheater.”

Two precarious points later, the tandem won their game against Ian Levinsky and Galen Perkins to take a 5-4 lead in the second set of their second doubles match.

Five minutes after that, Marden watched a ball sail long. He clenched his fist and gave it a pump. Ouellette raised his hands over his head.

For the fifth consecutive year, the Lewiston High School boys are the Maine Class A state tennis champions. They won the title with a 4-1 team victory over Western Maine champion Westbrook at The Racket and Fitness Center in Portland on Saturday.

“Just to mentioned in the same sentence with Lewiston at this point is a tribute to how far our program has come,” Westbrook coach Tim Gillis said. “I was pleased with the scores early, but Lewiston just flexed its muscle in terms of team score.”

Marden and Ouellette clinched the victory with a 6-4, 6-4 victory at second doubles.

“Christian’s a little bit more mature as a senior, and interacts with Andrew a bit better, and that made a better team, and that’s what helped them win today,” Lewiston coach Ron Chicoine said.

Had the tandem faltered, though, third singles player Ben McDonough was ready with his own set of dramatics.

Westbrook’s Dave Born powered through McDonough in their first set, winning 6-0. McDonough was down. He thumped his racket against the protective netting behind the court as he walked over to the wall. Back against the wall, he slid slowly into a ball.

“I thought we were down. I put a lot of pressure on myself and I got mad,” McDonough said.

Chicoine spoke to the sophomore between sets. In the second, McDonough rebounded, taking the middle frame 6-3.

“Coach’s words really helped me,” McDonough said.

“He was playing the guy’s game, and tapping a lot,” Chicoine said. “I told Ben he needed to hit out more, and when he started to do that, that’s when he started doing better.”

With much of the crowd filtering across the net partition to watch after Marden and Ouellete’s victory, McDonough pounded out a 6-1 win in the third set to put Lewiston ahead four matches to none.

The Devils’ lone setback came at No. 1 singles. In a slugfest, Eben Perkins of Westbrook edged Mike Butler of Lewiston, 7-6 (5), 3-6, 6-3.

In two earlier matches, Matt Letourneau and Devyn Cote dispatched Jake LaViolet and Alex Foster at No. 1 doubles in less than an hour, and Mike Sarrazin fought off Brian Cooke at No. 2 singles, 6-2, 6-2. Sarrazin has been a member of the last four state championship teams for Lewiston, the only member of the team with varsity time in each of the last four. He completed his high school career Saturday with an all-time head-to-head record of 55-1.

“State game, doubles with James Morin my freshman year,” Sarrazin answered quickly when asked if he remembered the “1.”

“But we don’t talk about that one,” Sarrazin laughed. “This has been great – all four years.”


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