Madison Central is in the 11th Region baseball finals for the second year in a row, giving the Indians another shot at their first region title since 1993.
Josh Wright swatted a solo homer and drove in another run as No. 5 Madison Central beat Sayre 5-1 in the semifinals at Henry Clay Wednesday night.
The game didn’t start until 9 p.m. because of a 3 1/2-hour rain delay. The Henry Clay-Lexington Christian semifinal was postponed until Thursday at 5:30.
Madison Central, which lost to Tates Creek in last year’s finals, will take an 11-game winning streak into this year’s title game.
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Sayre, in the region for the first time since 1997, gave the Indians a battle.
“That was a great high school baseball game,” Madison Central Coach Steve Roof said. “Sayre had quality at-bats, and I thought our pitchers did a great job.”
Madison Central took a 1-0 lead in the first. Joe Holbrook drew a lead-off walk, went to second on a wild pitch, stole third and scored on Josh Wright’s ground-out.
Wright got the Indians’ second run in quick fashion. The left-handed hitting junior ripped a towering home run to left-center to lead off the fourth and make it 2-0.
Sayre got on the board in the bottom of the fourth. Josh Morgan led off with a double and scored on James Dupree’s single.
Madison Central answered in the fifth. Jeremy Lakes and Joe Holbrook had back-to-back doubles to make it 3-1.
The Indians added a pair of insurance runs in the seventh. Holbrook scored on a wild pitch, and Ben Morin’s hit drove in Nick Cavanaugh.
Holbrook got the start and worked four innings. The junior right-hander gave up a run, four hits and had three strikeouts to improve his record to 10-0.
Kyle Kelsey came on in relief after Holbrook walked the lead-off batter in the fifth. Kelsey got a strikeout and line-out double play to preserve the Indians’ lead.
The junior righty blanked Sayre the last three innings. The Spartans had runners at second and third with one out in the bottom of the seventh, but Kelsey struck out the next two batters to finish things off not long before midnight.
“He’s been our closer all year,” Roof said. “He’s been in a lot of big games. He’s a competitor, and he’s the one we want with the ball at the end.”Madison Central’s players were unaffected by the long rain delay before the game.
They killed time at a mall before coming to the ball park. After they arrived and Roof realized there were still a couple hours before game time, the team got back on the bus and went to a gas station for snacks.
When they returned to Henry Clay, the Madison Central players helped pull the tarp off the field.
“This is a fun-loving group and they just enjoy being around each other,” Roof said
MADISON CENTRAL 5, SAYRE 1
Madison Central 100 110 2—5 6 0
Sayre 000 100 0—1 5 0
Joe Holbrook, Kyle Kelsey (5) and Cory Mullins. Michael Flora, Marshall Nielson (5) and John Van Balen. 2B--Jeremy Lakes, 2 (MC), Flora (S), Josh Morgan (S), Holbrook (MC). HR--Josh Wright (MC).
Records — Madison Central 32-6; Sayre 24-14