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Dallastown's John Schmitt and York Suburban's Elliot Diehl took slightly different roads on Monday afternoon in the YAIAA tennis tournament championships at South Western High School.

Both Schmitt and Diehl did converge in the same place, however, as the two seniors successfully defended their boys' singles crowns.

"I told John it was quite an accomplishment," Dallastown coach Mark Koons said. "Soccer Co-Player of the Year and now a second championship. John is one of the most athletic kids I have ever coached. He'd probably be good at any sport. He also has that competitiveness. He hates to lose. I think he hates to lose more than he likes to win. Those are the two traits that stand out about John."

Schmitt captured the Class AAA championship for the second year by defeating Red Lion's Sam Innerst, 4-6, 6-0, 6-1, while Diehl won his second Class AA title with a 6-3, 6-3 win against York Catholic's Michael Andrews.

"(Diehl) gave up his last year of basketball this winter to play more tennis," York Suburban coach Mark O'Reilly said. "I think it showed. Michael Andrews played terrific. I think he upped his game a little. Elliot played well when he needed to.

"I think (Diehl) might have been feeling the pressure a little bit. He was the defending champ. People were watching him. I think his nerves got to him a little bit, but he was able to steady himself when he needed to. That's the mark of a good player. He gutted it out. It wasn't always pretty, but there were some great points."

Sixth-seeded Ben Sentz of South Western defeated teammate Gavin Kenny, 6-2, 6-4, in the Class AAA consolation match. Seventh-seeded Nick Bartkowiak of York Catholic beat No. 5-seed Brett Gill of Littlestown, 6-2, 4-6, 6-4 for third place in Class AA. Third-place winners gain entry into the District 3 tournaments, while the fourth-place finishers will be considered for at-large bids in the tourney fields.

Schmitt, who defeated Innerst in last year's Class AAA final, won the opening game of the match but dropped the first set.

"After that first set, I thought I didn't have it," Schmitt said. "I was kind of frustrated. I was hitting the ball. I was killing it. I just wasn't making him back up. He was in the middle of the court, and I was just running around out there trying to get his shots back over."

The second set, Schmitt found his game and won 12 of the final 13 games to claim the championship.

"That second set, (Schmitt) just amped it up and was hitting some great shots," said Innerst, who is also a senior. "He wasn't missing. I was having a real hard time. I knew I had a chance to turn it around at any point. In high school tennis, there can be a lot of ups and downs, but I just never got the chance."

Schmitt said that he and Innerst have met "six, seven or eight" times over their careers, with Schmitt saying he thinks he has won them all despite the matches "all being very close."

"Consistency is his strength," Innerst said. "He's a grinder. He is a great competitor. He plays both soccer and tennis that way. He doesn't miss. He doesn't fall apart. A lot of other high school players you can count on to fall apart. Not him."

Diehl didn't drop the first set, but he saw Andrews win the first three games in their championship match.

"I think I came out strong," said Andrews, who is a senior. "I felt pretty confident there. I felt like the pressure was off me coming into this match, so I came out firing. I had a poor service game after that let (Diehl) right back in there. When you give a player like that the opportunity, he'll take it."

Diehl then reeled off six straight games to win the first set and captured the first three of the second set.

"I was like, 'Ugh, what am I doing here?' I need to get focused,'" Diehl said. "I had to take some deep breaths, get composed and start fighting back. There were nerves, but (Andrews) played well. He jumped out to a great start. There was nothing I could do about that but fight back."

Andrews won three of the next four games to tighten up the second set, but Diehl broke Andrews' serve to go up 5-3 before closing it out.

"I had shots in my hands to hit, and I just didn't hit them," Andrews said. "A lot of it came down to a shot here or a shot there. A point here or a point there. That was the match. It was a better match than the other two times I've played him. I think they were both (6-)2 and (6-)1. I'm happy with how I played pretty much, but a few of the championship moments I faltered."

Diehl, who beat teammate Michael Peck in last year's championship, thought he might have gotten a little tentative in that second set.

"I started chipping more shots," Diehl said. "I wasn't hitting through the ball. I had a little lapse there, but got my feet back under myself and fought through it."

YAIAA tournament

Singles

Class AAA

Championship

John Schmitt, Dt, def. Sam Innerst, RL, 4-6, 6-0, 6-1

Third place

Ben Sentz, SW, def. Gavin Kenny, SW, 6-2, 6-4

Class AA

Championship

Elliot Diehl, YS, def. Michael Andrews, YC, 6-3, 6-3

Third place

Nick Bartkowiak, YC, def. Brett Gill, Lt, 6-2, 4-6, 6-4.

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