Lexington Catholic began the baseball season looking for respect. It will try to end it by winning the program's third state championship.
The Knights earned themselves a a shot at another title by beating Harrison County 10-0 in the semifinals of the Forcht Bank State Tournament on Friday night.
Lexington Catholic (28-8-3) will face surprising Owensboro (14-15) in Saturday's finals.
A record semifinals crowd of 3,621 at Applebee's Park saw Lexington Catholic rout three-time state titlist Harrison County in five innings.
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"I had no clue we'd come out swinging like we did, playing defense like we did, and mercy rule them," said Knights' senior Devon Williams, who starred on the mound and at the plate.
The burly right-hander ran his pitching record to 10-0 by shutting down Harrison County on three hits. He had four strikeouts and one walk.
"He's a competitor," Coach Kevin Clary said. "He told me before the game, 'I'll get you to the final game tomorrow night. Don't worry about it.'
"He so calm, cool and relaxed. He's Cool-hand Luke."
Williams also delivered at the plate. He had two hits and two RBI.
Taylor Botkin had three hits and drove in two runs, and Frank Carter had two hits and two RBI for the winners, who got unexpected help from four Harrison County errors.
Thorobreds Coach Mac Whitaker said his team suffered from having to finish up its first-round game, an upset of Trinity, on Friday afternoon after it was suspended because of rain late Thursday night.
"More than anything, I think playing two games in one day at this level, the mental toughness wasn't there," he said. "We had mental breakdowns and that's due to fatigue and all the stress we had to go through."
Lexington Catholic, which was thought to be in a rebuilding mode when the season began, will try to become the fifth Lexington team in seven years to win the state title.
Paul Dunbar won it all in 2003 and '07. Lexington Christian was champ in 2007. And Lexington Catholic was crowned in 2006. The Knights also won the title in 1999.
The Knights, who needed nine innings to beat Harrison County 1-0 in the first round of last year's tournament, got three runs in their first at-bat Friday night.
Casey Messner singled, Michael Schornick walked and Patrick Maronde was hit by a pitch to load the bases.
That prompted Whitaker to pull starter Dustin Sellers.
Ryan Durbin came on and Williams greeted him with a run-scoring single. Durbin hit the next batter, Michael Jansen, to force in another run.
Whitaker returned to the mound and replaced Durbin with Christian Chasteen.
Carter hit a long drive to left that hit the fence on the fly, missing a grand slam by maybe five feet. Instead, it went for a single and only one run scored.
It didn't matter. The Knights were just getting warmed up. They wound up raking six Harrison County pitchers for 10 hits.
Harrison County 000 00— 0 3 4
Lexington Catholic 312 31—10 10 1
Dustin Sellers, Ryan Durbin (1), Christian Chasteen (1), Jared Martin (4), Jordan Martin (5), Eric Case (5) and Bobby Feeback. Devon Williams and Michael Schornick. 2B—Taylor Botkin (LC).
Records—Harrison Co. 27-10, Lex. Catholic 28-8-3.
Harrison County 000 000 2—2 4 2
Trinity 000 000 0—0 9 1
Logan Dailey and Bobby Feeback. Corey Littrell, Jon Rueff (3) and Brandon Brian. 2B—Andrew Bowling (T).
Records—Harrison Co. 27-9; Trinity 25-11.