When Lexington Catholic won the state baseball title in 2006, Wes Caldwell was one of the stars, a hard-hitting junior catcher, and a team leader whose deep voice boomed orders and encouragement from behind the plate.
Michael Schornick was Caldwell's under-study that year and again in 2007, watching, learning and gaining valuable experience as a much-used back-up.
"Wes was a great leader and a great role model," Schornick said. "He showed me the character you have to have to be a good catcher."
Now getting a star turn himself, Schornick is the catalyst at catcher as the Knights pursue another state championship.
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Lexington Catholic plays Marshall County in the first round of the Forcht Bank/KHSAA State Tournament at Applebee's Park on Thursday.
Knights Coach Kevin Clary considers Schornick the rock upon which his title contender is built.
"He's the epitome of what a catcher should be," Clary said. "You've gotta embrace the position; you've gotta want to be back there, involved in every single play.
"Michael's greatest asset is that he's a competitor. He wants to have the big at-bat, and he hopes a guy tries to steal in a big situation so he can throw him out.
"He's our best hitter, and he's our anchor on defense."
Last season as a junior, Schornick hit .301, had 19 RBI, helped the Knights get to the state semifinals, and earned first-team All-City honors.
This year, he leads the team with a .439 average and 38 RBI, and he was named 11th Region Player of the Year.
Even though Schornick, pitcher/infielder Devon Williams and outfielder Casey Messner were the only returning starters for Lexington Catholic this season, Schornick didn't consider the Knights a long shot to earn another trip to state.
"We've always had talented, good players," he said. "And as this year went on, we realized we had a good chance to go back to Applebee's.
"We're kind of like the 2006 team. We've got good team chemistry and a lot of hard workers."
Schornick isn't as talkative or outgoing as Caldwell, and he leads more by example. But Schornick has tried to be more vocal this season, and Clary appreciates the results of his effort.
"Michael brings a sense of calmness to the pitchers," Clary said. "He'll do the little things to settle them down.
"But if he needs to go out and change somebody's oil, he'll do it. He'll tell a pitcher to get his head straight and go to work because he hates losing worse than anything."
Schornick, who will play college baseball at Georgetown, considers himself "really lucky" to be going to state for the third time in four years.
Clary's rejoinder to that:
"We're really lucky to have Michael Schornick, or we wouldn't be going to Applebee's."