ESCANABA - With the exception of a pair of matches, the Escanaba Eskymos exhibited their will over their Gladstone rivals Tuesday, coming away with a 6-2 victory.
"It's still early, and we still have a lot to work on, but I was happy with the effort," said Eskymos coach Jim Hansen. "Even with the two matches that we lost - TJ (Myrick) went three close sets, and (No. 1 singles) John Brant played the best I've ever seen him play in his life. To go three and three against (Aaron) Parmet, who is a really good tennis player. I'm really happy with everybody today."
Parmet of Gladstone beat out Brant 6-3, 6-3 in No. 1 singles, and John Hammar edged TJ Myrick 6-4, 3-6, 6-4 in No. 2 singles. Other than that, it was all Escanaba.
Justin Marietti | Daily Press
Gladstone's Aaron Parmet takes a swing at No. 1 singles Tuesday at Escanaba.
"I'm glad I got the win," Parmet said. "I missed some easy balls, but I managed to pull it out."
Parmet moves to 3-0 with the win.
"I felt pretty good, but I had a lot of unforced errors," Brant said. "He's a really good player."
No. 1 - Aaron Parmet, G, def. John Brant 6-3, 6-3; No. 2 - John Hammar, G, def. TJ Myrick 6-4, 3-6, 6-4; No. 3 - Steve Wood, E, def. Peter Weyers 6-1, 6-2; No. 4 - Steve Prica, E, def. Drew Griebel 6-2, 6-0.
No. 1 - Dave Fix-Jake Eastin, E, def. Tyler Wells-Jeremy Kadish 6-1, 6-2; No. 2 - Mike Shields-Dom Aos, E, def. Spencer Pederson-Jake Kujala 6-1, 6-0; No. 3 - PJ Uhazie-Jared Bizeau, E, def. Jalen Goc-Tyler Krause 6-0, 6-0; No. 4 - Sean Berhow-Travis Heller, E, def. Osten Roberts-Adrian LaVigne 6-1, 6-2.
He added that since the weather has gotten better, getting practice in has not been an issue for some of his teammates.
"We play a lot on the weekends," he said. "We're always on the courts. It's nice to play against some other competition though."
With many of the matches ending in lopsided victories, Braves coach Dan Williams knows there are some kinks that need to be worked out. But he also acknowledged the season is still very young.
"We have some work to do, but our singles are playing pretty good," said Williams. "Three and four singles, I know they've played better in the past. But it's only our third match, so I think that we have time, and I think they are going to continue to improve. We'll see some changes by the end of the season I'm sure."
He added that it's his first time coming back to play Escanaba since he coached the Eskymos six years ago, and it was certainly a situation that took a little adjustment on his part.
"It was really strange for me to coach against Esky after coaching them for six years," he said. "It's a little different for me to do, but I love our team. There's that competitive Gladstone versus Esky thing, but it's all good, and the guys have a lot of fun."
Escanaba's PJ Uhazie and Jared Bizeau rolled to a 6-0, 6-0 victory over Jalen Goc and Tyler Krause in No. 3 doubles. At No. 1 doubles, Dave Fix and Jake Eastin quickly dispatched Tyler Wells and Jeremy Kadish 6-1, 6-2.
With the win, Escanaba improves to 2-0. They face some stiff competition in the near future that will give them a good grasp on where they stand.
"It will be easier now that we are able to get outside and work on some things," Hansen said. "Our next two meets are against Iron Mountain and West Iron County. Those two have been battling it out for the D-2 title the last few years, so they're going to be good tests. We will kind of see where we're at and where we still need to improve."
Both teams resume Thursday; Escanaba hosts Iron Mountain, while Gladstone heads to Kingsford.