There was an element of revenge in the 2010 NW La. District Pickle Ball championship May 1 as J. Garcia and Kathleen Loudermilk and Dale Higginbotham and David Johnson turned the tables on teams that beat them a year ago.
Garcia-Loudermilk won the mixed doubles round robin, ousting David Johnson and his wife Jo from the gold medal stand. Then Higgenbotham and David Johnson turned on Garcia and Dave Fortuna in a spirited men’s doubles that highlighted the card played out at Noel Methodist Church gym.
Garcia and Loudermilk won all three of their matches in the round robin, scoring a 2-11, 11-6, 11-6 victory over the Johnsons who finished with the silver medal. Loudermilk was a steady counterpoint for the athletic Garcia and battles at the net often consisted of six to eight volleys at point-blank range. Dave Fortuna and Ann Leonard won the bronze thanks to a key victory over Joe and Lila Lothrige, 11-2, 11-6.
Higginbotham, who sings in community opera, hit all the right notes in a showdown for the men’s doubles gold. He backed the angular David Johnson with good quickness afoot in an 11-7. 11-5 victory. Higgenbotham admitted that evening the score with Garcia-Fortuna, who won their age bracket at the LSOG meet last October, felt very good.
Jo Johnson and Lila Lodrige beat Loudermilk and Leonard for the women’s doubles gold, 11-2, 11-9.
“We managed to keep pickle ball alive on our calendar and hope things will grow in the next year,” said Gerry Robichaux, who oversaw the tournament for the District. “Dave Fortuna and J. Garcia did a terrific job conducting the event and we again got an assist from the folks from Natchitoches, Higgenbotham, the Lodriges and the Johnsons. And we have been assured that next year Tom Burkhart, Regional Director of the U.S. Pickle Ball Association, will offer assistance to our effort. So stay tuned.”