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Flames net share of tennis championship

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Posted: Thursday, April 25, 2002 10:00 pm

The Lodi Flames boys tennis team claimed a share of the San Joaquin Athletic Association title Thursday with a 4-1 win over the Tokay Tigers at Twin Arbors Athletic Club.

Lodi and the Lincoln Trojans finished the season with 13-1 records.

"With the league championship on the line our guys really stepped it up," Lodi coach Jon Stroh said. "We knew that Tokay would give us a challenge."

In singles play, No. 1 Mitch Hanner of Lodi recorded a 6-4, 6-4 victory over Cliff Sutherland, No. 2 Danny Milidinovich swatted Tom Woeful 6-0, 6-2, and No. 3 Roman Ranke slammed Mike Navone 6-0, 6-0 as the Flames swept the singles matches.

Adam Barton, of the Lodi Flames, returns a forehand during a doubles match Thursday at Twin Arbors Athletic Club. (Mary Min Vincent/News-Sentinel)

"Mitch is the key behind our great success this year," Stroh said.

Hanner, who has been Lodi's No. 1 three consecutive years, played a great match, Stroh said.

Milidinovich, whom Stroh described as an excellent team leader, is the only Lodi player to finish the season undefeated.

"Danny did it as the No. 2 and No. 3, and he always led by example," Stroh said. "Going undefeated is tough to do."

In doubles action, Lodi's Jullian Castillo and Jack Zech backhanded Rajan Patel and Alan Ishihara 6-4, 7-5 before Tokay's Tyler Sinclair and Ricky Gill avoided the sweep with a 6-4, 1-6, 7-5 triumph over Jeff Machado and Adam Barton.

Stroh, who has been coaching for 16 years, said this year was one of the best.

"It was a great year and I'm proud of the kids," he said. "Winning the title on the final day of the season is a great way to close the season."

The season will continue for Hanner and Milidinovich in singles play and Roman Ranke and Jack Zech in doubles action at the league tournament Thursday and Friday at the Marina Tennis Club in Stockton.

"We definitely have a decent chance faring well at the league tournament," Stroh said.

If the Flames do well, they will advance to the section individual tournament.

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