Pitchers are supposed to rule baseball's post-season, but hitters pulled off a coup as host Lafayette outlasted Paul Dunbar 9-7 in the opening game of the 43rd District Tournament on Monday night.
Lafayette led 6-0 early, but it had to battle to survive after Dunbar started rattling its bats.
"You'd like to take hold of that (six-run lead)," Generals Coach Chris Langston said, "but in a way it was good that we didn't.
"I'm glad it got tense because I got to see how some of our freshmen and sophomores handled the situation."
The teams combined for 20 hits, nine walks, and four batters were hit by pitches. The run production also was aided by seven errors.
Nick Fergerson helped Lafayette to its early lead by ripping a solo homer in the first and an RBI single in the third.
It was Fergerson's fourth home run of the season, but the first to the opposite field for the left-handed hitter.
"That was an impressive shot," Langston said. "We've seen Nick do it in batting practice, so it was nice to see him do it in a big game.
"He's trying to step up as a leader for us."
Chad Warner's leadoff double began the Generals' five-run eruption in the third.
Johnny Youngblood, and Michael Morton had run-scoring hits along with Fergerson. A pair of errors by Dunbar's infield aided the cause.
The Bulldogs closed the gap to 6-3 in the bottom of the third as Brandon Eggenschwiler, Ryan Houghton, Ryan Heim and Brad Harp collected hits.
Lafayette pushed its lead back to 9-3 in the fourth, with Tanner Lockard's two-run single providing the highlight.
But Dunbar answered again. It scored four times in the fourth. Houghton's two-run double capped the rally that trimmed Lafayette's lead to 9-7.
Fergerson wasn't surprised by the Bulldogs' bite.
"We always have to battle the city teams because they're all pretty good, so we expected Dunbar to make this a tough one," he said.
Generals junior left-hander Chris Graves finally muzzled the Dogs after surrendering Houghton's double. He blanked Dunbar over the last three innings.
"Chris lost his spot early in the season, but we told him to stick with it and he'd get through it," Langston said. "He showed tonight what he can do."
Dunbar, under first-year coach Larry Poynter, finished 16-16. Eggenschwiler, Houghton and Heim each had two hits for the Bulldogs.
Lafayette will take a 17-11-1 record into Tuesday's semifinals against Lexington Christian Academy.
"We're looking forward to it," Fergerson said about the challenge of facing the state's top-ranked team.
Lafayette 105 300 0— 9 9 3
Paul Dunbar 003 400 0— 7 11 4
Logan Shaftner, Chris Graves (4) and Jason Fergerson. Marshall English, Tyler Cox (3), Tyler Agano (4), Chris Beymer (6) and Michael Johnson. 2B—Alex Wade (PD), Chad Warner (L), Michael Morton (L), Ryan Houghton (PD). HR—Nick Fergerson (L).
Records — Dunbar 16-16; Lafayette 17-11-1