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Held & Witsken Win St. Louis Invitational
February 11, 2014
St. Louis, MO
Well, we had one of the most exciting finishes in the 23-year history of the St. Louis Invitational…and it occurred deep into the reprieves.
With the traditional Calcutta, there is a lot riding on all of Sunday’s matches. Each division (Blue, Green, Orange and Yellow) consists of seven teams. Each set you win on Sunday earns you one point for your division. Frank Childress and Peter Gunther squared off against Brian Gesme and Eric Schrumpf. A straight set victory by Childress/Gunther would hand the Calcutta title to Green. A win by Gesme/Schrumpf would give Yellow the title. Childress/Gunther took the first set in a breaker while Gesme/Schrumpf battled back to take the second. A key service hold by Childress propelled his team to a 6-4 win in the third. What about the Calcutta? Green and Yellow tied but it wasn’t like kissing your sister as the outcome had a big swing in my favor.
Rick and James Randall took the father-son title as they defeated Dick and Richard Baldwin, 6-4, 6-2. However, the Baldwins bounced back on Sunday to best Stu and Matt Waite, 6-0, 7-5.
Patrick Dolan and Tom Linthicum kicked off the Friday festivities with a match against Joe Ingram and Mark Saksa. Dolan/Linthicum had a quick start to the third, which ended up knocking Ingram/Saksa into the consolations. From there, Ingram/Saksa breezed their way into the consolations final. They met Mike Anzalone and Matt Edwards. The superior training regimen of one of the four individuals showed as Ingram/Saksa fought their way to a 6-4 win in the third.
Other reprieve champions were Mike Carr and Frank Sant, with a well-earned title over Paul Feder and Kyle Shoff; party host Chris Wright and Scott Schmid taking out Moss Alexander and Mark Mannion; and Ryan Dickherber and Jay Roberts (a newly formed team) eked out a win over Ian Hintz and Cary Hodges. By the way, Hintz and Hodges had one heck of a tournament, which included a close loss in the quarters.
Scott Falatek and Guy Moore took the last spot in the tournament and were instantly tabbed the first seeds. The pair cruised into the semi-finals, where they were given a tough test by Roy Brammer and Bob Curtis. Falatek/Moore, though, triumphed 6-4, 6-4. On the other side of the bracket, Zach Held and Rick Witsken had a long duel with the aforementioned duo of Hintz/Hodges and took their quarterfinal match in three sets. Held/Witsken then took out Michael Laycob and Tim Miller, 6-1, 6-3, in the semis. The tournament director’s scheduling caused me to miss the first set of the finals, which Held/Witsken won in a tiebreaker. The pair then rolled 6-1 in the second to earn the 2014 title. Witsken currently has a nine-match winning streak going in the St. Louis Invitational and will hopefully look to extend his streak next year.
In photo: (l-r) Rick Witsken and Zach Held