NORWALK - The Ballard boys’ tennis team suffered a heartbreaking 5-3 loss to Norwalk in Class 1A substate play May 18 at Norwalk.


The meet was best-of-nine. Norwalk reached the magic number of five wins before the No. 3 doubles match could finish.


“It was a tough loss,” Ballard head boys’ tennis coach Matt Fjelland said. “Two really good teams. We feel this could have been a final four matchup instead of a substate matchup. There were a lot of very competitive matches during the afternoon.”


Max Olsan, Chase Winterboer and Logan Gogerty all came up with victories for Ballard in singles play.


Olsan defeated Norwalk’s Drew Hall in a three-set battle. He sputtered out of the gate with a 6-1 loss in the opening set, but came back with a 6-3 win then took the rubber set by a 7-5 decision.


Winterboer dominated the Warriors’ Jacob Joss in the No. 4 match. He won both sets by a decisive 6-1 margin.


In the No. 6 match, Gogerty knocked off Nate Spurr. He won a hard-fought 7-5 decision in the opening set, then coasted to a 6-1 victory in the second.


Caleb Hamerlinck fell in three sets to Norwalk’s A.J. Clarkwilt in the No. 1 singles match. Hamerlinck roared out to a 6-1 win in the opening set, but loss the next two by 6-2 and 6-4 margins.


In the No. 3 match, Norwalk’s Carter LeVelle defeated the Bombers’ Seth Wohlgemuth in straight sets with two 6-4 victories. The No. 5 match saw the Warriors’ Jason Brooner down Ballard’s Alex Upah in straight sets, 6-0 and 6-1.


The No. 1 doubles match pitted the state-qualifying Bomber team of Hamerlinck and Olsan against Clarkwilt and Hall. The Bombers came up short in straight sets, 6-1 and 6-3.


Wohlgemuth and Winterboer, also state qualifiers, lost the No. 2 doubles match against LeVelle and Joss. The Bomber team fell in straight sets, 6-1 and 6-4.


In the No. 3 set, Gogerty and Carter Harmers were leading Norwalk’s team of Spurr and Dylan Spurr in the third set before the meet was called. Gogerty and Harms dropped a 7-6 nail-biter in the first set, but came back with a 7-5 win in the second and took a 4-1 lead in the third.


“I’m definitely proud of the kids and how hard we competed the entire season,” Fjelland said. “We ended the season with the most wins in school history.”


Ballard finished the season with a tremendous 13-2 record. The Bombers’ only loss was to Pella by a 7-4 score in its opening meet, and the Bombers had handed Norwalk a 7-4 setback earlier in the season.


Norwalk 5, Ballard 3


Singles: 1. A.J. Clarkwilt (N) defeated Caleb Hamerlinck (B); 1-6, 6-2, 6-4. 2. Max Olsan (B) defeated Drew Hall (N); 1-6, 6-3, 7-5. 3. Carter LeVelle (N) defeated Seth Wohlgemuth (B); 6-4, 6-4. 4. Chase Winterboer (B) defeated Jacob Joss (N); 6-1, 6-1. 5. Jason Brooner (N) defeated Alex Upah (B); 6-0, 6-1. 6. Logan Gogerty (B) defeated Nate Spurr (N); 7-5, 6-1.


Doubles: 1. Clarkwilt and Hall (N) defeated Hamerlinck and Olsan (B); 6-1, 6-3. 2. LeVelle and Joss (N) defeated Wohlgemuth and Winterboer (B); 6-1, 6-4.