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Florence USTA Team Completes Turnaround

June 3, 2015 10:55 AM

Jonathon Braden
USTA South Carolina

GREENVILLE, S.C. – With their recent championship victory here, Kelly Pinkerman’s Florence team completed one of the biggest turnaround seasons in USTA South Carolina league play this year.

In 2014, the team, self-named “toohottohandle”, was ice cold. Their record was 1-7.

This year, though, with most of the same guys, the team finished 5-1 in the 18 & Over 3.0 division of the Pee Dee Tennis League, the organization that runs USTA leagues in Florence.

On Monday, the team won their division’s league state championship at the USTA South Carolina 18 & Over League State Championships.

The Florence team with their championship sign Monday at the USTA South Carolina 18 & Over League State Championships in Greenville. Front row, left to right: Willie Dillenbeck, Bobo Moore, Kelly Pinkerman, Tyler Floyd; Second row, from left to right: Rob Fleschner, Richard Storr, Aaron Tanner, John Ward, Daniel Helder, Patrick Brock, Brendan Kendrick.

The difference? “A year’s worth of practice,” said Pinkerman, the team’s captain.

The team practices together at least two times a week at Ebenezer Park, where they also play their home league matches. At practice, they usually work on doubles strategies, such as keeping the ball away from the person patrolling the net.

They also work on changing the pace of their serves, sometimes hitting a flat ball and other times using more spin.

Most of the players have played tennis for only two years, said Pinkerman, who started playing in 2012.

And although they play in the USTA 18 & Over League, their players range in age from 27 to 57.

“We still have old people,” one teammate joked.

By winning the USTA South Carolina league state championship, the team can advance to the USTA League 18 & Over Southern Sectional Championships, scheduled for July 24-26 in Mobile, Alabama.