Beaufort High School boys tennis coach David Riedmayer enjoyed a comforting thought after Lexington's players walked to the parking lot Thursday.
With the Eagles dropping down to Class 3-A next season, they won't have to see the Wildcats in the playoffs. Beaufort High's perennial nemesis frustrated the Eagles again Thursday, winning 5-1 to advance in the Class 4-A playoffs.
Lexington has been the Eagles' final opponent more times than Riedmayer cares to remember, though he has a good relationship with Wildcats coach Eric Jackson.
"I'm getting numb to the Lexington thing now," he said.
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If the upset was going to happen, this would seem the prime season. Lexington lost two of its two players, including its No. 1 singles player, with the opening of River Bluff High School in Lexington County.
Jackson's team is also young throughout the lineup. But the Wildcats are still better than most.
They expect to travel to Wando on May 12 for the Lower State semifinal.
"We're not as deep as we have been," Jackson said. "Compared to most schools, I don't have a whole lot to complain about."
Beaufort High senior James Bachety picked up the lone point for the Eagles, defeating Adam Hajji 6-2, 6-3. The Eagles' No. 2 singles player had faced Hajji an a tournament earlier in the season, winning an eight-game pro set.
He cruised through the first set Thursday, then allowed Hajji to pull within 4-3 in the second set before putting him away.
"This was probably one of the most fun seasons I've had," said Bachety, who played for the Eagles all but his junior season. "Everything was so close."
Riedmayer and Bachety thought there was a chance for the final result to be closer had matches that were competitive earlier in the season fallen the Eagles' way.
Lexington remained strong throughout, winning a tiebreaker at No. 4 singles and not needing more than two sets in any of its other four wins.
Jackson, whose team had to travel to Beaufort High because of the Eagles' status as Region 8 champion, said the trip might have helped keep the Wildcats focused and away from potential distractions at school.
The loss ended an Eagles' season in which they won region for the third time in four years. Riedmayer joked with his players after the match about having to cut grass to pay for a Friday trip to Outback, the result of a promise he made the Eagles if they were to beat Bluffton High School.
Under the next realignment, Bluffton and Lexington will stay in 4-A while Beaufort High slides down.
"Now we've just got to figure out how to beat Hilton Head," Riedmayer said.
Lexington 5, Beaufort High 1
Singles: No. 1 Thomas Bryan (L) def. Alex Angus 6-3, 6-3; No. 2 James Bachety (B) def. Adam Hajji 6-2, 6-3; No. 3 Will Horton (L) def. Jack Louw 6-2, 6-4; No. 4 Cole Myers (L) def. Quinten Paton-Melland 6-2, 5-7, 10-6; No. 5 Hector Sensllaw-Vazquez (L) def. Owen Stovall 6-4, 6-2.
Doubles: No. 2 Nick Neal/Rod Andrew (L) def. Daniel Lange/Kam Olin 6-4, 7-5.
Follow assistant sports editor Stephen Fastenau at twitter.com/IPBG_Stephen.