In a match that took eight days, 2,324 e-mails and 27 phone calls to reschedule and complete, the Green Machine put the final touches on a 3-0 win over the Fighting Spirakises Monday evening in 18-over mixed 7.0 doubles action.
Completing the sweep was the tandem of John Slatniske and Nini Torres, who overcame a shaky start that left them 2-2 in the first set before rains delayed the match . Monday, however, the duo was sharp against Scott Jankes and Marisa Martin, two of the club’s most promising 3.0 prospects.
Slatniske started out serving at 30-30 and made quick work to put the Machine out in front. After a break, it was Torres winning her serve and the Spirakises never recovered. A number of perfectly place balls down the middle solved the riddle, as they say, and the first set went to the visitors 6-2.
Little changed in the second. Jankes was coming off a weekend 4th of July bender, and didn’t look as sharp as he did a few weeks back taking out 3.0 club champion J.R. Daws in the flex league, and Martin chose to play off the net. That opened up the court for the more experienced Machineers, who were able to pepper the 6.0 squad with myriad of tricky shots on the way to a 6-2, 6-2 final.
In the other matches, the Green Machine had one easy ride, and one stiffer test.
The team of Mike and Janene Culumber dominated in a 6-1, 6-0 win on the third line. It was Mike’s first match since, well, the end of last 7.0 season. He was so rusty, he originally took the court with a 7-iron, before his wife reminded him he had the wrong bag.
And at line 2, Chris Baker and Sylvie Wittman won 6-1, 6-4 in a match that opponent J.R. Daws claimed had to be the toughest of Baker’s career.
“I’m a 4.0 in a 3.0 player’s body, and today you saw that, we almost had ’em,” Daws said. “If not for a dozen or so bad serves, a few forehands into the net and 20 or so lobs that went long, and just six or seven volleys into the net, we would have won that second set. No doubt.”
The Machine is now 5-1 and all alone in first place — for the moment. Brandon, which has yet to make up its match with Arbor Green, is second with a 4-1 record.
Sunday, the Machine hosts Arbor Green at 9:30 a.m.