Decatur, AL—Coach Charles Wright knew coming into the spring season that it would take a miracle for Marion Military Institute to win a sixth Alabama Community College Conference title. Two key players from the fall did not return to the lineup for spring play—players that played at the No. 1 and No. 4 singles slots.
"We were in quite a bind," Wright said, "when the spring season rolled around. We had to find two players—and quick. We were lucky to find two great kids with great attitudes, but neither of them had much of a tennis background. Those two boys basically started from scratch and helped us out tremendously."
Even so, the Marion Military Institute (MMI) Tigers put up quite a fight and almost pulled off a miracle in the ACCC tournament, falling by a single point, 11-10, to Wallace State Community College-Hanceville at the Jimmy Johns Tennis Center in Point Mallard Park.
The biggest surprise for the Tigers had to be their incredible doubles play.
The No. 1 doubles team of Isaiah Polk and Barry Booth played some sensational tennis on Friday night. Polk and Booth tracked down a lot of balls and played tenaciously from the start of the match to its conclusion. Polk and Booth held a 6-3 lead when rain delayed play for a brief time. When play resumed, Booth, with Polk's help, held his serve. Up 7-3 and on the brink of victory, they turned up the pressure on the opposing team's server, making him serve underhanded and producing a few double faults. Booth and Polk prevailed in an exquisite match, 8-3.
Not to be outdone was MMI's No. 2 doubles tandem of Andrew Carey and Harry Foster. Carey played out of his mind, serving and volleying like a wizard, and Foster walloped balls with ferocious velocity and impeccable placement.
"Those two teams never played better than they did tonight," Wright said. "I was tremendously pleased with both teams' high level of play. They brought it tonight. Those two teams deserved their championship medals."
In singles play, Carey won the No. 3 singles flight championship, 6-2, 6-0, over Wallace State's Donny Camp, and Foster won the No. 4 singles flight championship, 6-3, 7-5, over Clint Brewer of Gadsden State.
Polk and Booth fell in the championship round of the No. 1 and No. 2 singles flights, respectively.
"I couldn't be prouder of my players," Wright said. "They played their hearts out. They left everything they had out there on the courts. And everything they had was good enough for me and the team. They are champions in my book."