RED LION — The individual match of the day within Dallastown's team match-up with arch-rival Red Lion on Thursday afternoon was a riveting duel at No. 1 singles.
The Wildcats' John Schmitt and the Lions' Sam Innerst traded shots for 2 1/2 hours on a raw, 43-degree afternoon, before the Dallastown senior emerged with a 4-6, 7-6 (2), 6-1 comeback victory.
Schmitt's team also came out on top, 5-0, to keep its York-Adams Division I record unblemished at 5-0. Red Lion sustained its first league loss, falling to 4-1.
Schmitt, the reigning York-Adams Class AAA singles champion, appeared on the brink of defeat, trailing last year's singles runner-up, 5-3 in the second set after losing the first set.
"(Dallastown coach Mark Koons) said the clock doesn't run out, so you have to keep playing and keep fighting," Schmitt said. "He (Innerst) was serving really well the whole match, and I knew I had to play a great game, and I did."
Schmitt broke Innerst's serve for 5-4 and held his own serve for 5-5. The players split the next two games to force the tie-breaker.
The Wildcats' star won the first two points in the breaker and led the rest of the way to set up a third, and deciding, set.
Schmitt bolted to a 3-0 lead in the final set before Innerst momentarily broke the run by taking the fourth game. However, Schmitt answered by winning the next three games and the match.
"I think that momentum swing from winning the tie-breaker really helped me in the third set," Schmitt said. "I got off to a fast start in the third set."
Schmitt pounded six service winners in the final set, and he attacked more than in the earlier sets.
"John has been getting away, in some of our matches, with just staying back, pushing the ball around and waiting for the other player to make a mistake," Koons said. "Sam's too good a player, he's not going to make mistakes. John started to play more aggressive and come in (to the net) in the second set."
Schmitt was forced to pull out all the stops after dropping the first set and falling behind in the second set.
"He (Innerst) played amazing," Schmitt said. "I thought I was done, but I had to keep fighting."
Schmitt said he and Innerst have played eight times, but Thursday's match was the first one that required three sets.
"Those two have had some battles for three years," Koons said. "They're good kids and first-class sportsmen."
Innerst knew that Schmitt wasn't done even after losing the first set and going down 5-3 in the second set.
"I know how good a player he is," the Red Lion senior said. "I knew it would be a pretty good fight. He's hard to deal with in long matches. The kid doesn't get tired."
Tyler Lilie, Hunter Jones, Sachin Venkatesh and David Trimmer also won singles matches for Dallastown. All four victories were in straight sets.
The doubles matches were not contested because of rain.
OTHER BOYS' TENNIS
York Suburban 7, Biglerville 0: Elliot Diehl, Mike Peck, Dan Lee and Ben Strine won in straight sets in singles to lead the Trojans.
Central York 7, West York 0: At Central York, the Panthers only lost three games during singles play in cruising to a shutout of the Bulldogs. Chris Maderitz and Connor Bacha got through their matches unscathed, collecting 6-0, 6-0 victories at No. 1 and No. 3 singles, respectively.
York Catholic 7, Susquehannock 0: At Springettsbury Park, the Irish received singles victories from Michael Andrews, Scott Bartkowiak, Nick Bartkowiak, Isaac Higgins and Jacob Kondrasuk to allow them to secure the York-Adams Division II victory.
South Western 6, Dover 1: At Hanover, the Mustangs received straight-set singles victories from Gavin Kenny, Ben Sentz, Joe Harrison, Ben Harrison and Shane O'Reilly to grab the win.
New Oxford 7, Northeastern 0: At New Oxford, Joey Stiles, Josiah Forry, Mat Conrad, Dakota Melton and Justin Klunk won in straight sets for the Colonials in singles.
— Reach Dick VanOlinda at firstname.lastname@example.org.