By Brian Holtzapple
For The Daily Item
WILLIAMSPORT -- Like a finely tuned machine, Lewisburg is built with many interchangeable parts.
After the start of the District 4 Doubles Tournament was pushed back two days by Mother Nature, the Green Dragons put that mettle to the test when Lewisburg coach Matt Barr had to find a player to compliment Michael McCormack and fill out his fourth-seeded doubles team.
With Glen Gallik tied up taking school exams, Barr paired McCormack with Russell Nash, his No. 3 singles player, and the duo didn't miss a beat Monday as they advanced to the semifinals with a 5-7, 6-2, 6-3 victory over Wellsboro's No. 5-seeded team of Aaron Dillman and Garrett Carr.
"The Wellsboro guys played very well together, but Mike and Russ did a good job," said Barr. "They really didn't have much time to practice together with Glen doing tests this week, and it was good that Russ could jump in for that.
"It's just one of those special times with this group of guys. I'm just telling them to ride the wave and enjoy this, because it's a lot of fun."
Gallik's loss was certainly Nash's gain, especially a year after Nash's bid at a district doubles medal was foiled. He and partner Jordan Massoud were seeded No. 2, but were upset in the second round to Galeton's Dakota Shadle and Logan Smith.
Now McCormack and Nash will play South Williamsport's top-seeded team of Bryce Jones and Christian Cioffi in the semis on Wednesday at 2 p.m. at West Branch Racquet Club.
McCormack, along with Gallik, fell in the quarterfinals of last year's tournament to Loyalsock's Caleb Vuocolo and Mark Odorizzi.
"It's nice to get into the semifinals. It would be great to go further, but we have two more matches to win for the championship," said Barr. "I think that says something about who these guys are -- that they can make those adjustments and step (up)."
After beating Mifflinburg's Cameron Murphy and Sam Beiler in the first round, 6-0, 6-2; and Galeton's Shadle and Dan Hatch in round two, 6-2, 6-4, the only hiccup McCormack and Nash had on the day was when Dillman and Carr took the opening set of their match behind four service breaks. Service was broken a total of seven times in that first set.
"I think that kind of woke them up a little bit, like, Hey, this is for real and we will have to work for his now," said Barr. "They kept their heads and they kept plugging away to the game plan, and they didn't let too much get to them.
Lewisburg's other doubles team of Massoud and Bryan Speake fell in the second round to Galeton's No. 6-seeded team of brothers Jordan and Tyler Dugan, 6-1, 6-4.
"We would have loved to have two teams in the semis, but the other guys had a tough route," said Barr.
The only other area team to advance past the second round was Mifflinburg's No. 7-seeded duo of Landon Walter and Matt Southerton. However, the Wildcats fell in the quarterfinals to Loyalsock's No. 2-seeded team of Vuocolo and Odorizzi, 6-3, 1-6, 7-5.
Prior to that match, Walter and Southerton won a three-setter over Central Columbia's Joe Todd and Tristan Snyder, 2-6, 6-1, 6-0. In the first round they beat Danville's Shane Rudloff and Bryson Copenhaver, 6-1, 6-0.
"(Walter and Southerton) had a good day. They haven't played doubles together very much at all, so it was neat to have them click," said Mifflinburg coach Dana Godshall. "Loyalsock is a really strong team. They are strong players and I don't think we have anything to be ashamed of.
"I think we can walk away with this (being) a good day."