Taylor Martin has been a terrific opening act for Lexington Catholic's baseball team in the playoffs.
The 6-foot-3 sophomore right-hander, who pitched the Knights to victory in their first game in the district, region and semi-state, did it again in the first round of the Forcht Bank State Tournament at Applebee's Park Thursday night.
Martin went the full seven innings as Lexington Catholic beat Marshall County 2-0 to reach the state semifinals for the second year in a row.
Frank Carter provided the big blow for the Knights' offense, ripping a two-run homer into the left-field bleachers in the second inning.
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"Frank Carter coming through with his first home run of the season, that was big," Martin said.
Lexington Catholic Coach Kevin Clary said he wants his players to hit line drives and that "home runs are accidents."
But he was glad to see Carter's hit accidentally clear the fence.
The game was suspended because of lightning and rain in the top of the third and didn't resume until almost 21/2 hours later.
Martin and Lexington Catholic were unaffected by the delay, maybe because they had experience in waiting out the rain a few weeks ago.
The Knights beat Henry Clay in the 11th Region tournament at Applebee's Park in a game that was interrupted for almost three hours by rainy weather.
Martin was the starting pitcher in that game, too.
"We'd been through a delay like that before, so we were used to it," Martin said.
In his four post-season starts, Martin's is 4-0 and has given up four earned runs and 13 hits while striking out 27 and walking nine.
"Taylor thrives in those situations," Clary said. "He wants the ball in big games and keeps his composure so well. He just goes out and competes."
Marshall's Cody Forsythe threw well enough to win if he had gotten any kind of run support.
The senior lefty, who brought a 13-0 record into Applebee's, made one mistake — the pitch that Carter sent sailing out of the yard.
Forsythe was as sharp after the rain delay as before. His final line showed that he gave up three hits, struck out six and hit one batter.
"He was outstanding," Martin said. "He's the first guy to shut us down in a long time."
Marshals Coach Don Bock said a "gracious strike zone" helped both pitchers, but it came down to his team's quiet bats.
"Unless you score you don't win; we didn't score so we didn't win," Bock said.
Lexington Catholic, meanwhile, stays alive in pursuit of another state title to go with the ones it won in 1999 and 2006.
Marshall County 000 000 0—0 2 2
Lexington Catholic 020 000 x—2 3 0
Cody Forsythe and Brantley Barrett. Taylor Martin and Michael Schornick. HR—Frank Carter (LC)
Records —Marshall County 30-4; Lexington Catholic 26-8-3