CENTENARY, Ohio — Simply put, the Purple has suddenly put the “Blue” in Blue Devils.
That’s because the Gallia Academy High School tennis team lost a critical Southeastern Ohio Athletic League match on Thursday — getting clipped by the visiting Logan Chieftains by a count of 3-2.
Now, the Blue Devils have an uphill battle if they want to claim a piece of the final SEOAL championship.
All Gallia Academy needed to do was win on Thursday, and the Blue Devils would be playing Jackson this week with the winner capturing the outright league crown.
Not so fast said the Chieftains, though.
Logan gained the season split this time, sweeping both doubles tilts again —but this time capturing the first singles match which it lost just three weeks ago.
As a result of Thursday’s contest, defending SEOAL champion Jackson clinches at least a share of its second consecutive league title.
The Ironmen’s only league match remaining is against Gallia Academy —set for this Thursday (May 4) at GAHS.
The Blue Devils, which won three straight league championships from 2013 thru 2015, can only earn a share now —and must defeat Jackson to do so.
The Ironmen are 4-1 in the SEOAL, while the Blue Devils fell to 3-2, part of now 9-4.
Logan is 2-2 in the league, and can also earn a split of the championship, but must sweep winless Athens (0-4 SEOAL) —combined with a Gallia Academy victory over Jackson.
Should that scenario occur, Logan, Gallia Academy and Jackson would finish in a three-way tie for the last SEOAL crown with identical 4-2 records.
The Chieftains — at 7-6 overall — faced Athens on Friday, and will do so again on Monday.
In addition to splitting with the Blue Devils, Logan also split the season series against the Ironmen.
Thursday’s decision was also, believe it or not, the ninth such 3-2 match for the Blue Devils.
They are 5-4 in those nine bouts — with losses to Logan, Wheelersburg, Ironton and Jackson.
Gallia Academy edged Logan 3-2 in the first match, sweeping the three singles matches but getting swept itself in the two doubles duals.
As usual, the Blue Devils fielded Miguel Velasco at first singles, Pierce Wilcoxon at second singles and Miles Cornwell at third singles.
Wilcoxon won again over Logan’s Justin Vogt 6-2, 6-1, while Cornwell shut out Connor Wells 6-0, 6-0.
But this time, Logan junior Nicholas Kudlapur knocked off Velasco in straight sets 6-0, 7-6 (7-5 tiebreaker), avenging a 6-3, 6-2 loss to Velasco in the first match.
In the doubles, Logan limited the Blue Devils to only seven points — with Riley Kelch and Jeremiah Martin sweeping MiKayla Edelmann and Katie Carpenter (6-3, 6-0) at first, and Colton Lonberger and Seth Primmer downing Olivia Meadows and Kirsten Hesson (6-0, 6-4) at second.
Gallia Academy returns to the road, and returns to non-league action, at Ironton on Monday.
Paul Boggs can be reached at 740-446-2342, ext. 2106