Phillip Deaton is a crafty left-handed pitcher who plays on a select baseball team back in the suburbs of Seattle. The indoor/outdoor Amy Yee Tennis Center in Seattle is named for his deceased great aunt.
A smallish 12-year-old, Deaton has a small dilemma: baseball or tennis.
This week, it’s tennis in the USTA Boys 12 National Clay Court Championships at LTP Tennis and Swim in Mount Pleasant where he is the fourth seed. Deaton lived up to his seeding on Wednesday with a 6-4, 6-1 romp past No. 17 seed Braden Shick of Greensboro, N.C., in the round of 16.
Deaton kept pace with 6-1 top seed Evan Wen of Morristown, N.J. Wen once again used his big serve and forehand to post a 6-3, 6-1 victory over unseeded Chase Thompson of Mission Viejo, Calif.
Deaton and Wen are each one win away in Thursday’s quarterfinals from a showdown in Friday’s semifinals.
Third seed Jack Anthrop of Orlando, Fla., also advanced, but No. 2 seed Samir Banerjee of Basking Ridge, N.J., was upset by No. 14 Kian Vakili of Longwood, Fla., 6-4, 6-4, in the bottom half of the draw.
Deaton is amazingly quick with great hands. And he can twist one of his left-handed forehands into the corners, well, almost like a pro. He seldom makes unforced errors.
On top of baseball and tennis, Deaton actually goes to school full-time where he is starting the seventh grade, his dad Bob Deaton said. He trains at the Eastside Tennis Center in Kirkland, Wash.
“He started tennis when he was 4 years old, played tournaments at 5. He’s been pretty serious since he was 7 years old,” said his father, who incidentally doesn’t play tennis.
Why is Deaton playing tennis? Aunt Amy, of course?
“He uses the same motion on his left-handed pitches that he uses on his serve,” Bob Deaton said.
ROUND OF 16 RESULTS
1-Evan Wen, Morriston, N.J., def. Chase Thompson, Mission Viejo, Calif., 6-3, 6-1
14-Kian Vakili, Longwood, Fla., def. 2-Samir Banerjee, Basking Ridge, N.J., 6-4, 6-4
3-Jack Anthrop, Orlando, Fla., def. 15-Cooper Williams, New York, N.Y., 6-0, 6-3
4-Phillip Deaton, Auburn, Wash., def. 17-Braden Shick, Greensboro, N.C., 6-4, 6-1
6-Victor Lilov, Raleigh, N.C., def. 10-Cole Stelse, Scottsdale, Ariz., 6-3, 6-1
17-Jiaxi Ma, Alhambra, Calif., def. 11-Noah Hernandez, Chicago, 7-6, 7-6
16-Ryan Colby, Alexandria, Va., def. 17-Zaid Abuhamda, Fort Lauderdale, Fla., 7-5, 6-3
Albero Pedraza, University Park, Md., def. 17-Hardy Owen, Sandy, Utah, 1-6, 6-3, 6-4
Reach James Beck at email@example.com