Oneonta High junior Emerson Kelby ran his record to 17-0 and secured a spot in the state tennis tournament with a pair of victories in the Section Four State Qualifier on Friday at the Binghamton Tennis Center.
Kelby started his day with a 6-0, 6-1 win over Dustin Eshelman of Moravia in the quarterfinals. He then beat Seton Catholic Central’s Mike Perry, 6-2, 6-4 in the semifinals. The top three players from Section Four qualify for the state tournament that begins this coming Friday at National Tennis Center in Flushing.
At 11 a.m. Saturday, Kelby will play Evan Vail from Union-Endicott in the Section Four final. Kelby is looking for his second straight overall sectional title.
“His volley and his maturity,” OHS coach Paul van der Sommen said when asked which parts of Kelby’s game have improved this season. “He’s realizing that he doesn’t always have to hit every shot perfectly. He’s allowing his opponent to make mistakes.”
Van der Sommen also said Kelby has the talent to win a match or two at states this season. Last season, he lost both of his matches at Flushing.
“I think (Binghamton Tennis Center owner Mike Starke) said it best,” van der Sommen said. “He said Emerson is a man among boys.”
Added van der Sommen: “He hits the ball so hard. His serve has been clocked at 120-125 mph. Emerson can break a ball in half.”
Deposit 17, Morris 2
Second-seeded Deposit benefited from 14 walks en route to a Section Four Class D first-round victory Friday.
The game was scheduled to be played at Deposit, but it was moved to Morris because of field conditions. Deposit batted second.
The Lumberjacks (15-5) scored three times in the fouth inning to take a 5-1 lead and then broke it open with a nine-run fifth.