All things considered, Lodi High boys' tennis coach John Stroh figures the Flames had a pretty good season.
While they didn't win the San Joaquin Athletic Association title - that distinction belongs to Lincoln High - the Flames managed to beat their cross-town rival Tokay High twice this season, including a 5-0 shutout over the Tigers at Tokay on Thursday in the teams' regular-season finale.
The win left the Flames in second place in the SJAA with an 11-3 mark, with two of those losses coming against Lincoln.
Tokay ended in sixth, with a record of 5-9.
"Coming off last year I'd have to say we had a good season," Stroh said during Thursday's match, explaining that the Flames only had seven players last year. "Two of our losses this season were against Lincoln and nobody beat them. And we beat our cross-town rivals twice.
"One of our biggest additions this year was Danny," Stroh said of freshman Danny Miladinovich, who defeated Tokay's Tom Woelfel to finish off his inaugural campaign with a 12-2 mark in league matches.
"I think I had a good first season," Miladinovich said, adding "I came on pretty fast at the end."
Mitch Hanner, who's been a mainstay for the Flames the past three years, picked up an easy win after Tokay's Cliff Sutherland had to forfeit due to an injured wrist.
Tokay coach Gary Haas said Sutherland, who pulled a muscle last week, tried to go but the wrist was too sore and stiff to play.
Chris Duke finished off the singles sweep for Lodi, disposing of the Tigers' Amreesh Mahil 6-1, 6-1.
In doubles play, Lodi's Bryce Hammons, a senior in his first season whom Stroh also noted as a nice addition, teamed with Matt Decker to edge the Tokay tandem of Alan Ishihara and Mike Navone 7-5, 7-5.
The Lodi duo of Vitt Reidel and Jeff Machado finished off the shutout for Lodi, battling back to defeat Andy Arnold and Stanley Vo 6-7, 7-3, 7-5.
"I hoped we'd finish with a record of .500 or better, but we just weren't strong enough," Haas said. "We had some injuries and we didn't have much depth. But we're only losing two or three seniors, so we'll be much more experienced next year."
Both teams will now focus their attention on the SJAA Tournament to be held next Thursday and Friday at The Marina Tennis Club in Stockton.
Stroh said Hanner, who reached the finals of the singles competition last year, should compete for the SJAA title once again, although Hanner will have to play his best tennis to get past Lincoln's Steve Oechel, who knocked off Hanner in last year's championship bout.
In doubles play, Stroh thinks Miladinovich and Duke have a legitimate shot to win the title, but they may have to get by Tokay's Suthlerland and Woelfel, a potential tandem that Haas believes can reach Section play.
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