After each Tates Creek baseball victory, the team awards a belt — the wide, gaudy, bejeweled kind fashionable in pro wrestling circles — to the hero of that particular game.
The host Commodores could have passed out several belts after pile-driving Lafayette 11-3 in the 43rd District finals Thursday night.
Both teams advance to the 11th Region tournament at Madison Central next week.
After surviving a tense 3-1 semifinal test against Lexington Catholic Wednesday night, Tates Creek let loose against the Generals.
The Commodores' stars included Blake Rose (three hits, three runs, two RBI); Jeffrey Chapuran (three hits, two runs, two RBI); Nick Richmond (a hit, an RBI, winning pitcher), and Devin Hairston (RBI double, sparkling defensive play at short that started a nifty double play).
"It was a great night," Rose said. "We were focused from the first pitch to the last.
"It's nice to finally blow one open and kind of relax."
Tates Creek wasted no time jumping on Lafayette starter Brandon Calia, who beat the Commodores during the regular season.
After JaVon Shelby drew a two-out walk in the first, the onslaught began. Rose singled in Shelby, Chapuran doubled in Rose, Jordan Fucci doubled in Chapuran, and Richmond singled in Fucci.
Lafayette answered with two runs in the top of the second. Alex Daniel singled and Kylan Nelson reached on an error, and Graham Carmack drove both of them in.
But that was pretty much all of the offensive fireworks for the Generals, who couldn't muster much off a string of Commodore pitchers.
Tates Creek Coach Dom Fucci said it was his intention to use a lot of arms to get them ready for the region. The Commodores' rout made that decision easy.
They added one run in the third on Chapuran's second RBI double, then broke it open with five runs in the fourth. Hairston, Rose and Richmond collected RBI, and Lafayette contributed to the cause with a wild pitch.
Chapuran said the players fed off each other's success at the plate. "It's definitely contagious. When the dugout intensity is up, once somebody hits, everybody hits."
Their coach liked what he saw. "We hit well tonight, and when we've got everybody clicking, we're a nice-looking outfit," Fucci said.
Tates Creek's uncharacteristically sloppy defense (five errors) wasn't enough to give Lafayette a chance.
Generals Coach Chris Langston wasn't discouraged, though. On the contrary, he's delighted Lafayette is in the region tournament for the first time since 2005.
"We're just happy to have the opportunity," he said. "It's not ending tonight.
"When we get beat, we get pretty good, but we've shown all year we can come back the next game. We've learned we can fight back. We're definitely resilient."
Tates Creek, meanwhile, takes a 16-game winning streak into the region.
"When you haven't been beaten in a while and you win the district 11-3, it gives you a lot of confidence," Chapuran said.
Tates Creek 11, Lafayette 3
Lafayette 020 000 1—3 8 0
Tates Creek 401 501 x—11 11 5
Brandon Calia, Lucas McVoy (4), Jack Noftsger (4), Chance Madden (5), Tyler Pope (6) and Matt Trimble. Nick Richmond, Aaron Mitchell (3), Tanner Hart (5), Cody Bronaugh (7) and Nathan Black. 2B--Jeffery Chapuran (TC), 2; Jordan Fucci (TC), Devin Hairston (TC).
Records--Lafayette 25-11; Tates Creek 30-6
All-district: Caleb Johnson (MVP), Jordan Fucci, JaVon Shelby, Jeffrey Chapuran of Tates Creek; Josh Dunn, Graham Carmack, Lucas Williams of Lafayette; Riley Jackson, Evan Fraliex of Lexington Catholic; Aaron Ochsenbein, Jack Cress of Dunbar; Cody Kalinowski, Taylor Blair of LCA.