Justin Redfering plays a singles match against St. Mary's at Tower Grove Park on April 29. (All photos by Steve Bowman)

Justin Redfering plays a singles match against St. Mary’s at Tower Grove Park on April 28. (All photos by Steve Bowman)

Smoller, Redfering are top singles players

 
By Steve Bowman
Editor, The Brentwood Spirit
Email: bowmansj@sbcglobal.net

Tennis continues to look like a good idea for Brentwood High School. Playing the first varsity tennis season in school history, the team has won half of its meets so far. The biggest tests are coming up in the district playoffs, but in terms of improvement, head coach Jeff Heinrich is full of praise.

“The most improved players have probably been Mitch Bender, Mahoto Sasaki, Luis Del Castillo and Marcos Sanchez,” said Heinrich. “They’re four guys who’ve never played tennis before, who went from not hitting the ball too well to being consistently able to hit the ball back and forth using their backhand and forehand.”

Head coach Jeff Heinrich speaks to players before the St. Mary's meet.

Head coach Jeff Heinrich speaks to Luis Del Castillo (left), Marcos Sanchez and others before the St. Mary’s meet.

Added senior Alex Smoller, “I think the most improved are Mitch and Marcos. It’s their first year playing tennis and they’re already among the best on the team.”

Alex Smoller plays a singles match against St. Mary's.

Alex Smoller plays a singles match against St. Mary’s.

The top two singles players are Smoller and senior Justin Redfering. How they do in the final five dual meets will determine which gets the No. 1 spot in the district playoffs.

“They’re still battling it out,” Heinrich said last week. “It may change come district, we’re not sure. It’s the same way in doubles. We still don’t know who we’ll take to district doubles because we have a bunch of guys who are pretty even.”

The top doubles team is Alex Riedel and Noah Lee, both seniors. No. 2 is senior Bender and sophomore Sasaki.

Noah Lee (right) and his doubles teammate Alex Riedel shakes hands with the No. 1 doubles team from St. Mary's.

Noah Lee (right) and his doubles teammate Alex Riedel shakes hands with the No. 1 doubles team from St. Mary’s.

Mitch Bender.

Mitch Bender.

Mahoto Sasaki.

Mahoto Sasaki.

Smoller wasn’t sure how he’d do before the season but he was encouraged to get a 3-3 start.

“Every single match I’ve played I’ve either won or it’s been super close, so that feels good,” he said. “But I don’t know how tough the opponents will be at districts. They might be a lot tougher than what I’ve seen so far.”

Alex Smoller.

Alex Smoller.

Asked why most of the tennis team also plays soccer for BHS, Smoller, a stopper, replied, “I dragged them in.”

But he said the two sports “are completely different. They both take athletic ability, but different mechanics, different everything. Also, tennis is a solo sport so it’s all on you.”

Jake Burkhardt.

Jake Burkhardt.

Brentwood’s recent lineup
Singles (ranked in order)
Justin Redfering, Alex Smoller, Noah Lee, Alex Riedel, Mitch Bender, Mahoto Sasaki, Jake Burkhardt
Doubles (ranked in order)
Lee and Riedel, Bender and Sasaki, Luis Del Castillo and Marcos Sanchez, Hunter Brown and Jenny Laseter.

Luis Del Castillo

Luis Del Castillo

Marcos Sanchez.

Marcos Sanchez.

Jenny Laseter.

Jenny Laseter.

Hunter Brown-Scott.

Hunter Brown-Scott.

Assistant coach Kelly Javier.

Assistant coach Kelly Javier.

Luis Del Castillo.

Luis Del Castillo.

Mitch Bender.

Mitch Bender.

Alex Riedel.

Alex Riedel.

Doubles partners Jenny Laseter and Hunter Brown-Scott laugh at a comment by a St. Mary's player.

Doubles partners Jenny Laseter and Hunter Brown-Scott laugh at a comment by a St. Mary’s player.

Justin Redfering.

Justin Redfering.

Mahoto Sasaki.

Mahoto Sasaki.

Noah Lee.

Noah Lee.

Marcos Sanchez.

Marcos Sanchez.

Jake Burkhardt.

Jake Burkhardt.

Noah Lee.

Noah Lee.

Alex Riedel.

Alex Riedel.

Jenny Laseter.

Jenny Laseter.