Lexington Christian Academy made a habit of improbable last-gasp rallies on its way to the state baseball title in 2005.
Male pitcher Brandon Allen slammed the door on a magical run by LCA this year.
The Bulldogs' junior right-hander threw a complete-game four-hitter as No. 16 Male shut out the No. 6 Eagles 3-0 in the quarterfinals of the Forcht Bank/KHSAA State Tournament at Applebee's Park Thursday night.
It was the first time LCA had been blanked this season, and only the second time in 116 games since 2007.
How did Allen do it?
"I don't really know," he said almost sheepishly.
Allen pitched against LCA in early April and the Eagles beat him 5-1.
"They shelled me pretty good, so I was trying to come back to get them," he said.
He got them good, effectively mixing and locating his fastball and off-speed stuff to improve his record to 10-4.
"He threw a heck of a gem," Male Coach Todd Driskell said. "Brandon's really matured as a pitcher and a young man this season.
"He's capable of throwing a game like this, but it was a little over the top for him. He really stepped up."
LCA mustered only four singles off Allen, and rarely stung the ball.
"We didn't have quality swings," Eagles Coach Keith Galloway said.
"But I thought the biggest thing was that they controlled our running game. They kept us close and tight to the base when we did get on."
LCA had its chances.
Drew Walls and Nate Coon led off the third with consecutive singles. But a sacrifice bunt failed, and Allen got the next two batters on fly-outs.
Evan Stephens and Clay Mossbarger started the fourth with back-to-back hits and moved up on a sacrifice. But Allen got off the hook with a strikeout and groundout.
Male, on the other hand, cashed in its chances against LCA starter Clay Hall and reliever Adam Shewmaker.
The Bulldogs got a run in the third when Tanner Hobbs doubled and scored on a throwing error.
Blake Oyler's RBI double in the fourth made it 2-0, and Trey Simpson's run-scoring single in the seventh chased home Dalton Howell.
Male, which won the state title in 1944, is in the semifinals for the first time since it was state runner-up to Paul Laurence Dunbar in 2003.
LCA's loss meant this is the first time since 2002 that a Lexington team didn't reach the semifinals. A Lexington school had won five of the previous seven state titles.
Galloway will have nothing but positive memories of these Eagles.
"This is a fantastic group of kids that was fun to be with," he said. "They were so centered on one another, helping each other and standing for the right things."
Galloway never gave up on a miracle comeback Thursday night.
"We've done it so many times before, like we saw in 2005," he said.
But Brandon Allen didn't let LCA history replay itself.
Male 001 100 0—3 8 1
Lexington Christian 000 000 0—0 4 1
Brandon Allen and Ryan Messex. Clay Hall, Adam Shewmaker (5) and Steven Hoagland. W—Allen. L—Hall. 2B—Tanner Hobbs (M), Blake Oyler (M).
Records—LCA 27-11; Male 29-11.