LEWISTON — With the season on the line, Edward Little’s Jake Bennett fought back in his third singles match against Brewer’s Calvin Grass.

Down 4-2 in the third and deciding set, Bennett won the next four games to win the set 6-4 and clinch the Class A North first-round match for the eighth-seeded Red Eddies, 3-2, over the No. 9 Witches at the Coach Anita Murphy Tennis Courts at Lewiston High School.

“When it was 4-4, I said: ‘I need to bring this home. If I lose, we don’t move forward (in the playoffs),'” Bennett said. “I tried to push as hard as I could.”

Grass, a freshman, first picked up a tennis racquet on March 28 and used his athletic ability to win the first set 7-5. Bennett came back in the second set to win 6-2 before taking the deciding third set 6-4.

“He was going up against an experienced junior, and taking (Bennett) to three sets was fantastic,” Brewer coach Noah Morang said of Grass. “We were very happy how we performed today. I am proud of (the team).”

Bennett made the adjustments in the second and third sets after noticing that Grass likes to lob the ball.


“I made sure I hit the ball back, try not to go for winners, just make him move around,” Bennett said.

He also had a conversation with Edward Little coach Greg Vincent between the first and second sets.

“I told him after the first set, he looked really nervous,” Vincent said. “I said, ‘There’s more here, you have to bring it out and loosen up — start hitting your balls, start hitting your strokes a little better, and we will be OK here.'”

In the No. 1 singles match, the Red Eddies’ Jonah Chen made quick work of Ethan Delmanico, winning 6-1, 6-0.

Chen said his serve was solid in his win.

“It was pretty good; I thought a lot of balls were going in,” Chen said.


Edward Little also won No. 2 singles, as Lucas Pawlina defeated Cayen Philbrook 6-0, 6-2.

Pawlina took advantage of Philbrook’s second serve.

“I was doing good in the first set; it slowed down in the second set,” Pawlina said. “Other than that, his second serve was a light-little lob, and I just smashed it over.”

Vincent said Chen and Pawlina have been the Red Eddies’ most consistent players this season.

“Jonah and Luke have been solid all year,” Vincent said. “Jonah has only lost two (regular season) matches all year, and Luke three or four. They have been the ones we can count on a win coming from (one of them). Then we battle at three singles and one doubles.”

The Witches’ (3-10) only on-court win came in No. 1 doubles when Brady Barker and Isaac Geaghan defeated Brady Kilby and Owen Wilson 6-2 in straight sets.


“I think once we got our shots landing, and when we recognized what the court was doing, it became easier to hit,” Barker said, adding that the ball bounced differently than at the Witches’ home court.

Brewer had a 1-0 lead before any ball was served because Edward Little doesn’t have enough players for a second doubles team. Omair Khan and Jack Stuber took the default win for the Witches.

The 1-0 lead didn’t change Morang’s game plan.

“Tennis played with one ball at a time, one point at a time,” Morang said. “It comes down to getting it done. We had some great tennis out there, but we just didn’t come away with the win.”

Edward Little (4-9) will travel to face the No. 1 seed Camden Hills on Thursday. The Red Eddies lost 5-0 to the Windjammers in the teams’ lone regular-season match on May 16.

“We have played them once — they are tough, they are the best team we have faced all year,” Vincent said. “Their singles players are super solid and their doubles teams are right there; they are a great team. It’s going to take a huge effort, but that’s why we go and play the (matches). We will go up there and give it our best.”

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