Pitcher Taylor Martin and catcher Tyler Jackson were a potent 1-2 punch as No. 1 Lexington Catholic beat Henry Clay 6-1 in the first round of the 11th Region baseball tournament at Whitaker Bank Ballpark Monday night.
Martin, a senior right-hander who has signed with Kentucky, threw a complete-game four-hitter with eight strikeouts.
Martin was coming off a complete-game two-hit victory over Paul Laurence Dunbar in the district and improved to 8-0 with 0.80 ERA.
Jackson, a junior catcher, not only handled things behind the plate, he was a force at the plate against Blue Devils ace Walker Buehler.
Jackson ripped a two-run double in the second that put the Knights ahead to stay. He added two singles and an RBI to his night's work.
"I went up trying to think fastball and react to the off-speed, and it worked out for me tonight," said Jackson, who got his hits on fastballs.
Once Lexington Catholic got up 2-0, Jackson was confident that with Martin pitching, "we'd be good from there."
Henry Clay's only run came in the third when Corey Bays doubled and Clay Lawless singled him home.
The Devils didn't get to Martin again.
"He's a rock out there," Knights Coach Taylor Brooks said. "We have a ton of confidence every time he throws."
Lexington Catholic's offense also got a boost from Zach Haynes and Robert Waller, who had run-scoring hits.
Buehler pitched six innings, gave up four hits, and had four strikeouts and two walks. Henry Clay's defense didn't help him, making four errors.
With temperature in the low 90s, the game was halted three times for water breaks.
Jackson said it was especially tough wearing catcher equipment, but he enjoyed iced towels in the dugout between innings.
Western Hills 6, Berea 1: Ryan Barrass, a junior righthander, threw a four-hitter as the Wolverines advanced to the region semifinals for the second year in a row.
Unranked Western Hills will face No. 8 Tates Creek in Tuesday's semifinals. It's a rematch from the first round of the region last year when the Wolverines, led by Mr. Baseball J.T. Riddle, beat the Commodores 7-6.
Berea was its own worst enemy. Five errors, a balk and a bases-loaded walk led to most of Western Hills' runs.
Marcus Howard and Barrass had two of the Wolverines' nine hits, and each had an RBI.
Despite its shaky defense, Berea trailed only 3-1 after five innings, but Western Hills scored three times in the sixth as it pushed its record over .500.
Berea freshman left-hander Gabe Long pitched into the sixth. He had three strikeouts and three walks.
Madison Central 2, Woodford Co. 1: Isaac Smith's steal of home with two outs in the bottom of the fifth gave Madison Central the winning run.
Smith singled with two outs, went to second on an error and stole third to set up his dramatic dash home on a 1-2 pitch by Yellowjackets ace Clint Hollon.
Catcher Gage Beavers never saw Smith coming and didn't try to tag him.
Hollon, a sophomore righthander, suffered his first loss of the season. He gave up four hits and struck out seven.
The Indians' Dusty Ridner gave up three hits and struck out three before giving way to reliever Logan Smith with one out in the sixth.
Lexington Catholic 002 200 2—6 5 1
Henry Clay 001 000 0—1 4 4
Taylor Martin and Tyler Jackson. Walker Buehler, Derek Bush (6) and James Hendron. 2B--Jackson (LC), Robert Waller (LC), Corey Bays (HC).
Records—LexCath 28-6; Henry Clay 25-16
Berea 100 000 0—1 4 5
Western Hills 110 103 x—6 9 2
Gabe Long, Ben Miller (6) and Corey Mullins. Ryan Barrass and Eric Lewis.
Records—Berea 15-10; Western Hills 16-15
Woodford Co. 001 000 0—1 4 3
Madison Central 001 010 x—2 4 1
Clint Hollon and Gage Beavers. Dusty Ridner, Logan Smith (6) and Jeremy Wright. 2B--Alex Dapkus (MC).
Records—Woodford Co. 24-10; Madison Cent. 30-4