Lafayette's baseball team, which went unbeaten (8-0) in the 43rd District during the regular season, maintained its mojo in its postseason opener Tuesday night.
Led by the strong pitching of Brandon Calia, the No. 2 Generals blanked No. 4 Lexington Catholic 4-0 in the district tournament semifinals.
Lafayette will be seeking its first district title since 2005 when it plays Lexington Christian in the finals at 6 p.m. Wednesday at Lexington Catholic.
Calia, a senior right-hander, threw a complete-game four-hitter. He had eight strikeouts and one walk.
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"It was a lot of fun, especially with the team I have behind me," Calia said.
"It was unbelievable. I wasn't even nervous. I had complete confidence in everybody out there."
Lafayette Coach Chris Langston had complete confidence in Calia, too.
"He was outstanding," Langston said. "He's pitched that way the last four or five weeks. He had one bad outing, and that was in the first week of the season.
"He's been pitching lights out since, and it's been great to see."
Calia worked "backwards" against Lexington Catholic, which meant he threw a lot of first-pitch curveballs.
"Earlier in the year they were sitting on fastballs against us, so we decided to go the other way," Calia said. "I was able to keep them off balance."
The Knights managed four singles, no more than one in any inning.
"Brandon got their hitters on their heels a little bit, and he kept on pounding the zone," Langston said. "He seemed to get stronger as he went."
Calia finished off the game with two strikeouts.
Lexington Catholic's Anthony Ethington was effective on the mound, too. He gave up only four hits in five innings, but Lafayette scratched out single runs in the first, second and fifth.
C.J. Compton's double drove in Ben Eckert for the first run. Johnny Fangmeyer picked up the RBI in the second, chasing home Eric VanderBoegh. Jacob Abbott doubled with two outs in the fifth, went to third on an error and scored on a wild pitch to make it 3-0.
Eckert's two-out single off Lexington Catholic reliever Sam Hodges in the sixth drove in Jackson Boggs with Lafayette's last run.
"It seemed like every time we got a guy to second, we got a big hit," Langston said. "Four hits and four runs, that's a pretty good deal."
Calia credited his defense for preserving the shutout.
Lexington Catholic had two runners on in the first when Jackson Boggs made a nice catch in right field for the third out.
The Knights had two runners on again in the fifth when left fielder VanderBoegh made a closing rush to snag a line drive off the bat of Daniel Little.
"That's what we hang our hat on," Langston said of the Generals' defense.
Lexington Catholic Coach Taylor Brooks credited Calia for quieting the Knights' bats.
"He was pitching backwards to us, and did a good job mixing speeds and locating," Brooks said. "He pitched a heck of a game and kept us on our toes."
Brooks also credited Lafayette for running its record to 9-0 against district opponents this season.
"It's incredible," he said. "They're a very senior-dominated team, they've got good team chemistry, and they're on an incredible run."
Langston appreciated the way his players responded to the post-season pressure.
"We face the No. 4 team in the state in the first game of district," he said. "But that's why these guys love to play, and why they work so hard, to play games like this.
"It's nice to be moving on."
Lafayette 4, Lex. Catholic 0
Lexington Catholic 000 000 0—0 4 2
Lafayette 110 011 x—4 4 0
Anthony Ethington, Sam Hodges (6) and Ben Wilcoxson. Brandon Calia and Johnny Fangmeyer. 2B—C.J. Compton (Laf), Jacob Abbott (Laf).
Records: LexCath 24-8; Lafayette 31-5.