Playing with back-up racket, Reinartz helps Rochester sweep Manchester
Strasser back as team manager for rest of season
BY VAL TSOUTSOURIS
Sports Editor, RTC
Rochester sophomore tennis player Tanner Reinartz was able to string together enough points to beat his opponent from Manchester even though the strings on his racket betrayed him.
And it capped off Rochester’s 5-0 home win over Three Rivers Conference rival Manchester at the RHS courts on Sept. 6.
Reinartz won his No. 2 singles match over Josh Steely 7-5, 7-6 (3) to cap off the win with his back-up racket. The strings broke on his regular racket earlier in the match.
Other Zebra winners included Brock Bowers, who beat Payton Jones 6-0, 6-2 at No. 1 singles; Luke Hunting, who blanked Milo Hupp 6-0, 6-0 at No. 3 singles; Robert Bozzo and Brayden Zink, who beat Cole Henderson and Connor Trump 6-4, 6-2 at No. 1 doubles; and Harrison Dunwoody and Jake Freeman, who outlasted Sammie Lambert and Owen Harshman 6-4, 7-5 at No. 2 doubles.
Unaccustomed with his back-up racket, it took some time for Reinartz to get used to his new wand.
But in the second-set tiebreak, he jumped out to a 5-0 lead thanks to three service winners and a sharp forehand volley.
Steely cut the lead to 5-3, but Reinartz ended the match with another service winner and an overhead on match point.
“He hit a very good shot to the corner, they lobbed one up, and he put an overhead away and popped his strings,” Rochester interim coach Mason Heyde said. “The racket he has is much lighter and a little bit smaller, so he was playing timid where that’s not his game. He’s always on the offense when he’s on the court, and tonight that was not the case, and it showed. And the kid he was playing against, he keeps the ball in play. And so if Tanner’s not able to be aggressive and put him away, it was just a long, long match. They still only went two sets, but they played about an hour longer than everybody else. If that went three sets, I might have turned the lights on.”
Reinartz was moved from No. 1 doubles to singles for this season. Bowers moved from No. 2 singles to No. 1 singles. Zink moved from No. 1 singles to No. 1 doubles, and Bozzo moved from No. 2 doubles to pair with Zink.
Hunting is a varsity newcomer who takes over for Drew Strasser, who will not play this year after a health-related incident in early August. Dunwoody and Brady Morgan are varsity newcomers who are trading off as Freeman’s partner at No. 2 doubles. Dunwoody got the nod against Manchester.
“When I got here and took over, apparently Brayden has had some arm issues,” Heyde explained. “And so he’s playing doubles because of that. He doesn’t take as many repetitions trying to save his arm a little bit. So that took him out of the singles lineup.
“Brock Bowers, he’s a strong player, good at one singles. He’s got great placement and can get to most things. Tanner, really good, strong groundstrokes; he’s going to be really good as he matures. Luke, I think played doubles last year, but once he gets his groundstrokes going, he’s a singles player.”
Heyde, a 2008 Rochester grad, said he will be the interim coach for the rest of the season. Joe McCarter, a 1984 Rochester grad and a member of the four Zebra sectional championship teams from 1980-83, is helping. Heyde said he is working with the varsity “for the most part” and McCarter will spend more time with the JV.
Heyde played both singles and doubles during his own prep tennis career, and he said his job is finding the right spots for players based on what their strengths and weaknesses are. Heyde and McCarter take over a team that had no seniors in 2021.
“My job is to really just help them improve their weaknesses because each one of them has weaknesses, but they’re all different,” Heyde said. “A lot of them struggle at the net. A lot of them struggle hitting deep groundstrokes. They hit them short and let the other player hit. A lot of them hit cut shots here and there. So really just working and trying to take their game, even though they are matured and they have varsity experience, it’s just to get them to that next level where they just have all the confidence they need because they’re good players, and if they have the confidence, they can win matches.”
Zebra tennis notes
Heyde said Strasser will be the team manager this year. He said he did not receive medical clearance to play. He was spotted with his teammates and in team huddles. “The day he got back to Rochester, the next morning, he was here at a Saturday morning practice,” Heyde said. “He’s been, I think, to every practice since and every match. These are his friends, especially the seniors. He’s tight with all of them, and they’ve been friends since I coached them back in sixth, seventh, eighth grade and probably a lot longer than that. But they’ve been tight for a lot of years, so it’s nice having him back, and it helps the morale of the team a little bit.”
Players wore polo shirts with the Zebra logo on the front and the initials “DS” on the side of the shirt.
Results: Rochester 5, Manchester 0
Brock Bowers (RHS) def. Payton Jones (MAN), 6-0, 6-2
Tanner Reinartz (RHS) def. Josh Steely (MAN), 7-5, 7-6 (3)
Luke Hunting (RHS) def. Milo Hupp (MAN), 6-0, 6-0
Robert Bozzo-Brayden Zink (RHS) def. Cole Henderson-Connor Trump (MAN), 6-4, 6-2
Harrison Dunwoody-Jake Freeman (RHS) def. Sammie Lambert-Owen Harshman (MAN), 6-4, 7-5
JV results: Rochester 2, Manchester 0
Brady Morgan (RHS) won 8-3.
Wade Bowers (RHS) won 6-0.
Luke Hunting Brock Bowers Drew Strasser