Sunday May 6, 2012

Defending national racquetball champion Scott Grunin is back on the court, defending his crown.

This time, Grunin, 39, will be competing in the Open category at the National Tournament in California in mid-May. The Pittsfield native, who now lives in Harwich, previously competed in the 35-and-over A Division last year.

"It'll be a little tougher," he said. "Obviously, there will be younger players in the open category."

Competing recently in the open division in the Rhode Island State Racquetball Championships in East Providence, Rhode Island, Grunin won the event. The fourth-seeded Grunin met top seed David Barnes and defeated him in two games, 15-7 and 15-14 in the semifinals. In the finals, he defeated No. 2 seed Mike Patalano, 15-13, 15-5.

Although he swept both opponents, Grunin said the victories were tougher than the score indicated.

"They were both tough matches," he said of his wins. "Neither were easy wins."

Grunin won the national title last year in the 35-and-over A Division.

He had previously won the 1993 National Singles Championship before "retiring" from the sport in 1998 due to injuries. Grunin took up the sport again last year.