Decatur, AL—The MMI Tigers dropped two hard-fought and heart-stopping 5-4 matches during regular-season play to the Faulkner State Community College Sun Chiefs, but on Saturday afternoon at the Jimmy Johns Tennis Center the Tigers ambushed the Sun Chiefs by scoring wins on courts 2, 3, and 4 in singles and routing the Sun Chiefs on court 2 in doubles to claim the 2014 NJCAA Region XXII Men's Tennis Championship.
The day started off poorly for the Tigers when Faulkner State's Dallas Teague strolled through his No. 1 singles match against the Tigers' Kaiser De Leon, 6-1, 6-1. Sophomore Romar Hernandez picked up MMI's first singles championship of the afternoon with his superb play at No. 2 singles, downing Faulkner State's Walker Bynum, 6-2, 6-2. Gadsden State's Zack Moss quashed the Tiger hopes at No. 5 singles when he defeated Marty Birchmeier, 6-4, 6-2.
The Tigers rebounded with championship play on courts 3 and 4 from Jake McDonough and Javier de Claire, respectively. Jake McDonough produced his finest tennis in the first set (6-1) and held on to win the second set (6-4) against Gadsden State's Jacob Mitchell. Javier de Claire eked out the first set, 6-4, and then went on a rampage in the second set against Gadsden State's Dakota Harris to take that set and the match, 6-1.
The Tigers clinched the match in less-than-dramatic fashion when MMI's Kaiser De Leon and Javier de Claire pummeled Faulkner State's Walker Bynum and Joe Smith, 6-0, 6-1, on court 2.
Faulkner State's Dallas Teague and Andrew Byerly trimmed MMI's Romar Hernandez and Jake McDonough, 5-7, 7-5, 10-8, to pick up the championship on court 1.
All told, MMI garnered three singles championships (Romar Hernandez at No. 2 singles, Jake McDonough at No. 3 singles, and Javier de Claire at No. 4 singles) and one doubles championship (Kaiser De Leon and Javier de Claire at No. 2 doubles). Finishing in the runner-up spot in singles play were Kaiser De Leon at No. 1 singles and Marty Birchmeier at No. 5 singles, and Romar Hernandez and Jake McDonough placed second at No. 1 doubles.
The MMI Tigers now head to Collin College in Plano, Texas, to participate in the 2014 NJCAA Men's National Tennis Championships. Play is slated to begin on Monday, May 12 and continue through Friday, May 16.