SELMA - In the midst of a 4-4 tie, all eyes were on Selma No. 3 duo Francisco Martinez and Owen Wenter, who were playing in the final match of a Central Section Division III first round playoff matchup against Reedley on April 24.

With parents and teammates watching alongside, Martinez and Wenter clinched the match winning point that would give the 8-seeded Bears a 5-4 victory on its homecourt over the No. 9 Pirates.

Martinez and Wenter defeated Bryan Melina and Ethan Lloyd 6-3, 6-2 in the match clinching victory.

“There’s nothing like winning a close match that stresses me out,” Selma head coach David Cortina said. “It was a good match overall. All the kids fought hard. That’s just what I want to see. Them going down trying or prevailing.”

Playing in a high pressure situation, Martinez and Wenter said it was important to keep their mental composure throughout their match.

“If we would’ve lost focus, we probably would’ve lost,” Martinez said. “We just kept commenting on each other as feedback.”

“After every point, win or loss, just made sure none of us got angry,” Wenter said. “Just keeping the game.”

Selma tied the score 4-4 after Simran Bains and Jake Harris defeated Nickolas Friedenberg and Augie Villarreal 6-2, 6-3 in the No. 2 doubles match.

In singles, Harris tied the score 3-3 after defeating Villarreal 2-6, 6-2, (10-1) in the No. 3 match. It was a much needed victory for Selma, who lost the No. 2 and No. 5 singles matches in a tiebreaker.

“Jake has been a reliable player,” Cortina said. “He’s been in that situation before. One of my clutch players in that match.”

Bains fell 1-6, 6-2, (5-10) in the No. 2 singles match while Mahtab Gill lost 5-7, 6-1, (8-10) in the No. 3 matchup.

Amit Dadra and Jasmeet Bajwa were the other Bears winners in singles. Dadra defeated Leo Hernandez 6-1, 6-1 in the No. 4 match. Bajwa defeated Gannon Gabaldan 6-0, 6-1 in the No. 6 match.

Selma played in the only first round matchup of Division III. The other seven teams ranked ahead of the Bears all had a first round bye.

The quarterfinal matchup against top-ranked Yosemite was the next match for Selma. The Bears played the Badgers on the road on Tuesday (after press time).

“I’m just expecting for them to their best at that point,” Cortina said. “Yosemite is ranked the No. 1 seed...so every player has to go in and do their job.”

The winner of that match will take on either No. 4 Orcutt Academy or No. 5 Edison in the Division III semifinals on May 2. The championship round will take place on May 7.

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Jeremiah Martinez can be reached at 559-583-2413 or jmartinez@hanfordsentinel.com

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