We’ve crammed a lot into the first three months of the Chicago paddle season, and we’re all now resting aching bodies or setting up practice games so that we can work on fixing our struggling serves or trying to perfect a drop shot so that we can be even better in the final two months of the season which starts up again next week.
Here’s a look back at the final matches before the Christmas break:
Series I – It’s been a broken record at series I, “Mid Town wins again,” was all I wrote for nine weeks. Well that all changed last week thanks to Hinsdale’s 8-7 victory over the formerly unbeaten Mid Town team. Yes, Mid Town was without Chris Gambino and Drew Eberly, but you’ll probably be hard pressed to find too many people feeling sorry the mighty Mid Town gang. Hinsdale scored point on all four courts, and got a HUGE court #4 win from Adam Boyce and Jerry Attlan who beat Scott Green and Stephen Schubert 3-6, 7-5, 6-2 to seal the victory for Hinsdale. However despite the loss Mid Town still has a comfortable lead 22 point lead over Onwentsia.
Series II – Mid Town holds a one point lead over Sunset Ridge (84-83). Sunset Ridge helped themselves last week by beating 3rd place Westmoreland 10-5. Though all the matches were exciting the best one of the night was probably on #2 where Sunny Ridge’s BJ Ryno and Dave Garden beat Westmoreland’s Dave Fritzsche and Phil Van Winkle 6-3, 3-6, 7-5.
Series III – Winnetka’s lead has grown to a full 20 points over the next closest competitor, so the rest of the field has their work cut out for them if someone is going to catch Winnetka over the next seven weeks. But if there was a match worth mentioning from last week it had to be the North Shore versus Northmore match, AND SPECIFICALLY the court #4 match that pitted North Shore’s Jim Sullivan and Kurt Penn against Northmore’s Cort Lewis and Rich Learner. If there was ever any doubt that “momentum” played a part in paddle matches look no further than THIS MATCH! Down 1-5 and 5-40 in the 3rd set, Sullivan and Penn fought off no less than 10 match points to begin what many believe (at least many who were in attendance of this particular match) one of the great comebacks of all time. In the end Sullivan and Penn would prevail in the 3rd set 7-5 to help North Shore win the match 9-5. The number of high-five’s and fist-bumps probably outweighed the number of winning shots, but they were all well deserved.
Series IV, V, VI and VII – Winnetka is up on Glen Ellyn 99-88 in series IV. Winter Club is clinging to a two point lead (79-77) over Saddle & Cycle in series V, and Lake Forest has a 10 point lead (92-82) over Salt Creek in series VI thanks in part to their 10-5 head-to-head victory last week. In that match Lake Forest’s Matt Wierzel and Eric Koppmann beat Salt Creek’s Andrew Lockhart and Michael Gartlan in straight sets on court #1 6-3, 7-6. And despite their 10-4 loss to Five Seasons last week Hinsdale GC holds a six point lead (86-80) over Lake Bluff in series VII.
Series VIII, IX, X and XI – Michigan Shores is up on Knollwood 91-81 in series VIII, while Hinsdale PD with 84 points is nine points ahead of Winnetka with 75 points in series IX. Salt Creek closed the gap a little bit over first place Michigan Shores last week in series X as they beat them head-to-head 10-5. Salt Creek won courts #1, #2 and #3 and lost #4 in three sets. The court #1 duo of Andy Bizub and Steve Hahn beat Michigan Shores #1 team of Jim Blomberg and Ekkehard Kubler 7-6, 6-4. And in series XI Glen View is holding onto a two point lead over North Shore (96-94).
Series XII, XIII, XIV and XV – Mid Town has built a nine point lead over Tennaqua in series XII, but that lead could have been even more had it not been for the “gutsy performance of the week” by Tennaqua’s Dan Niswonger, who dislocated his shoulder in the middle of the match, only to pop it back into place so that he could finish AND WIN his match. Dan’s wife may consider it to be the “dumb performance of the week,” but Dan’s victory on court #4 helped Tennaqua win the match and stay within striking distance of Mid Town. Both Hinsdale PD and Hawthorn Woods got 12 points last week, so Hinsdale’s lead remains just one point over Hawthorn Woods in series XIII. Tennaqua’s series XIV team has built a 21 point lead over Skokie, and Hinsdale PD and Hawthorn Woods are battling it out in series XV with Hinsdale clinging to a four point lead despite losing their head-to-head match with Hawthorn last week by a score of 9-4.
Series XVI, XVII, XVIII and XIX – Saddle & Cycle has a 20 point lead over North Shore in series XVI, while Hinsdale PD has a two point lead over North Shore in series XVII. Series XVIII is all tied up 93-93 with neither Northmore nor Hinsdale PD willing to budge. And at series XIX Tennaqua has a one point lead over Knollwood (97-96).
Series XX, XXI, XXII and XXIII – Hinsdale PD and Birchwood are battling it out for supremecy in series XX with Hinsdale out on top 88-86. Hinsdale beat Skokie last week 9-4 with Hinsdale’s Greg Cooper and Scott DiVenere beating Skokie’s Brian O’Toole and Dave Balestrery 7-6, 5-7, 6-3 on court #2. It’s still an all Valley Lo show at series XXI with Valley Lo 2 holding a five point lead over Valley Lo 1. Michigan Shores beat Winnetka 10-4 last week to increase their lead 95-91 in series XXII, and Five Seasons beat Hinsdale PD last week 10-3 to increase their already demanding lead 91-73 in series XXIII. In fact with Mid Town’s series I team finally losing a match Five Seasons’ series XXIII team may be the new dominate team to watch as they are sporting an 8-0-2 mark. They will be a fun team to watch over the next couple of months.
League matches start up again on January 3rd, so check back soon to see how your favorite Chicago teams are doing.