Tates Creek douses LexCath before storm hits

mfields@herald-leader.comMay 21, 2014 

Severe weather was expected to interrupt the 43rd District baseball finals at Lafayette Wednesday night.

But by the time the rain, wind and lightning arrived, No. 1 Tates Creek had already stormed by No. 10 Lexington Catholic 10-0 in a five-inning blowout that took only 90 minutes to play.

Tates Creek robustly celebrated its 30th victory of the season and its third district title in four years.

"It's a big accomplishment to win the 43rd because of the great competition, and because the kids know each other so well," Commodores Coach Dom Fucci said. "It's for pride and the trophy."

Lexington Catholic Coach Taylor Brooks was disappointed in his team's performance.

The Knights were shut out for the first time since the middle of last season, and they were mercy-ruled for the first time since 2010.

"It was awful. It was embarrassing," Brooks said. "We didn't compete at all. I thought going into a district championship we'd be excited to play, but we didn't look like it.

"(Tates Creek) had a lot more 'want to' than us."

Both teams advance to the 11th Region tournament at Western Hills next week.

Noah Stone did the job on the mound for the Commodores. The senior righthander gave up only three singles, struck out three, walked one and hit one batter.

"My change-up was really working today. It seemed I threw it a lot and was hitting my spots with it," he said.

Stone loved it that his teammates gave him an 8-0 lead after two innings.

Tates Creek's Tanner Hart and Devin Hairston drew walks with one out in the first, and Matt Neal singled to drive in both of them.

The Commodores sent 11 batters to the plate in the second. Jordan Fucci ripped a two-run double, Blake Rose had an RBI single, and Hart contributed a sacrifice fly. Two more runs scored when Lexington Catholic dropped a fly ball that would've been the third out.

Tates Creek tacked on two runs in the fourth to make it a 10-run margin. Neal doubled, and Max Sweet singled him home. Another Lexington Catholic error allowed the last run to score.

Thanks to their smart phones, most of the fans at Lafayette were aware that storms were on the way.

Dom Fucci said he didn't know an angry Mother Nature was on deck. Stone said he was oblivious to the weather forecast, too.

"I was just out there trying to pitch my game," he said.

But Neal confessed that he and some of this teammates knew what was coming and "that could be one reason" the Commodores were intent on getting 10 runs ahead and hurrying things along.

But Neal said it didn't matter what the final score was, "We got the 'W.' That's all we're happy about."

Dom Fucci is happy the way his team is playing in the post-season.

"We're getting good pitching, our sticks have come alive, we've had aggressive base running, and we're playing good defense," he said.

"We're hoping we're on the right path."

That path is to the state tournament, which Tates Creek followed last year when he won the district and region.

TATES CREEK 10, LEXINGTON CATHOLIC 0

Lexington Catholic 000 00—0 3 2

Tates Creek 260 2x—10 9 1

Ben Coates, Anthony Ethington (2), Steven Bender (2) and Riley Jackson. Noah Stone and Max Sweet. 2B--Jordan Fucci (TC), Matt Neal (TC).

RecordsLexington Catholic 23-12; Tates Creek 30-6-1

Mike Fields: (859) 231-3337. Twitter: @MikeFieldsNotes. Blog: fieldsnotes.bloginky.com.

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