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It’s sometimes hard to grasp Ben Clary’s progression as a tennis player. He plays well beyond his years, partly because he possesses patience beyond his age.

Recently, Clary, a sophomore-to-be at Palmyra High School, employed patience, understanding of the game and an unrelenting baseline game to finish second at the 50th Annual Mount Gretna Men’s Club tennis tournament. Clary advanced through the men’s singles draw at the clay court event, before falling to Jack Muriaka, 7-5, 6-4 in a hard-fought battle in the final match.

Using his persistence and strong forehand, Clary had Muriaka on the ropes all evening long.

Clary captured the initial game of the match on his way to an early 3-2 edge. But that was before Muriaka claimed four of the final five games and the first set.

In the second set, Clary won the first three games and led 5-4 after a key service break. Again Muriaka fought back to win it.

sportsbuzzClary had reached the championship match by defeating Jared Howatt in the semifinals.

Four months prior, Clary had finished as the runner-up in the singles’ draw at the Lebanon County Boys’ Scholastic Tennis Tournament, again to Muriaka. But that was before Clary went on to win the Mid-Penn Conference’s singles title.

- Jeff Falk

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