Tyler Guilfoil came in during the top of the fifth inning to finish the 43rd District championship game for Lafayette.
And boy, did he finish it. The junior struck out nine batters and knocked a walk-off double into the left-field corner to give the Generals a 6-5 win over Lexington Christian in nine innings at Lexington Catholic.
It was Guilfoil’s third walk-off hit this season.
“When you put the ball in play, good things happen,” he said with a grin.
It was the third straight district title for Lafayette, whose No. 8 ranking in MaxPreps’ latest computer rankings is the highest among Lexington teams remaining in the postseason. Lexington Christian was not in the top 25 coming into the week but might creep in after knocking off No. 24 Dunbar and No. 4 Lexington Catholic to put itself in the finals and the 11th Region tournament field.
Lafayette scored five of its runs in the fifth inning and was set up to take the win in regulation. A hit batsman with two outs loaded the bases and the next batter — Thomas Stout — drew a game-tying walk before a strikeout got the Generals out of the seventh.
“I hate walking runners in the first place, and walking runners in to tie the ball game in the district championship is a different story,” Guilfoil said. “But …”
Guilfoil’s cousin, Matt Guilfoil, interrupted. “ … It’s all right. We pulled through. Our team had his back.”
As it did against LexCath on Wednesday, LCA jumped out to an early lead. The Eagles plated two in the third inning on a two-run homer by Ryan Stucky and added two more in the fifth inning before Guilfoil entered to relieve Lafayette starter Eddie Satisky. Guilfoil struck out Stout for the final out in the frame.
Lafayette’s first three batters reached in the bottom of the fifth, a single by Kyle Browning bringing in their first run. LCA starter Mason Wheeler struck out Luke Taylor before Will McClurg came in to relieve the sophomore. McClurg surrendered back-to-back hits — a two-run single by Satisky and an RBI-double by Tyler Guilfoil — before being relieved by Andrew Branstetter, who gave up a run-scoring single to Josh Halterman before a double play ended the rally.
Lexington Christian nearly went ahead, 6-5, in the ninth on a Chase Galloway single but John Stinetorf made a big throw from left field to set up Matt Guilfoil for a tag-out of LCA’s Devin Buckner at home plate.
“I saw (Matt) just make sure he squeezed it and then he figured out where Devin was,” Tyler Guilfoil said.
“I’ve done that too many times, where I’ve just dropped the ball,” Matt Guilfoil said. “So I was making sure I didn’t do that.”
Satisky hit a one-out single in the ninth. Coach Chris Langston opted to insert the speedier Brock Littleton as a pinch runner, a decision that paid off thanks to Guilfoil’s big hit.
“Our teammates are always behind us,” Tyler Guilfoil said.
Both Lafayette and LCA will play in the 11th Region tournament at Madison Southern next week. They’ll learn their pairings after a draw meeting on Saturday.
LCA Coach Keith Galloway thought his guys could have done a better job of moving runners in critical situations early (two Eagles were left on base in each of the first two innings), but was mostly pleased with how his pitching performed when tested for the third time in four days.
“For us to use pitchers four, five and six and to still be in the game for nine innings is a pretty good place to be,” Galloway said. “We can’t be too disappointed. We’ve still got baseball left to play.”
The Generals accomplished their first goal of the season (winning the 43rd District title). Their second goal has eluded them each of the last two years: getting past the first round of regional play.
“Last year we got a really good draw and we got a little bit too cocky and got a little bit too in front of ourselves,” Satisky said. “This year we’re gonna have our heads on a tight swivel. We’re gonna go get that first ‘dub’ and hopefully some more.”
43rd District All-Tournament team
MVP: Tyler Guilfoil, Lafayette
Players: Brady Bowling, Lafayette; Matt Guilfoil, Lafayette; Eddie Satisky, Lafayette; Devin Buckner, Lexington Christian; Evan Byers, Lexington Christian; Ryan Stucky, Lexington Christian; Ben Wilcoxson, Lexington Catholic; Colin Burgess, Tates Creek; Tim Lancaster, Paul Laurence Dunbar