Lexington Christian Academy is making its own Kentucky Derby weekend tradition: winning the Touchstone Energy All "A" Classic baseball championship.
LCA captured its third small-school title in four years by beating DeSales 4-1 on Sunday afternoon at Whitaker Bank Ballpark.
Lincoln Henzman provided the highlight of the finals by ripping a pinch-hit three-run homer into the left-field bleachers in the fifth inning.
"I was thinking line drive. I guess I just made good contact," Henzman said flatly of his first homer of the season.
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LCA Coach Keith Galloway wasn't surprised by Henzman's clutch at-bat.
"He's a kid who likes big-game situations, so he probably didn't feel any pressure at all," Galloway said.
Henzman, a sophomore, had a bountiful Sunday. He also drove in three runs and was the winning pitcher in LCA's 16-3 rout of Covington Holy Cross in Sunday morning's semifinals, which were postponed from Saturday.
DeSales made the finals by beating Glasgow 3-2 on Sunday. Blake Dewsnap's walk-off solo homer in the eighth inning won it for the Colts.
LCA routed DeSales 14-1 a week ago in the Louisville Invitational Tournament, but their rematch in the All "A" was close all the way.
The Colts took a 1-0 lead in the second when Ryan Seigle scored on a fielder's choice, but that was the only damage they could do against LCA starter Taylor Blair and reliever Drew Schacht.
Blair, a junior right-hander and son of former major league pitcher Willie Blair, worked four innings. He gave up four singles, walked four and hit a batter.
"I struggled a little bit. I was staying up the zone. But I got a couple ground balls and the fielders made a couple plays," he said.
Galloway said Blair has been the Eagles' "workhorse all year long. When he's on the mound, we know we'll be in a tight ball game."
The Eagles had trouble getting to DeSales left-hander Jarrett Luckett, but they tied it in the fourth. Cody Kalinowski singled, stole second and scored on Aaron Johnson's two-out hit.
Then came the decisive fifth. Chad Hall drew a lead-off walk and Blair singled with one out. Henzman followed with his rocket shot over the left-field fence.
"Lincoln really got into one," Blair said with an appreciative smile.
Schacht came on in relief in the bottom of the fifth. The freshman right-hander gave up a lead-off double, but got the next batter to hit into a double play.
Schacht retired seven in a row, three on strikeouts, before hitting a batter and giving up a single in the bottom of the seventh. He never looked flustered, though, and got the final out on a fly ball to right.
"Drew's a special talent," Galloway said. "He's got a lot of confidence."
LCA takes pride in competing at a high level in baseball. It won the KHSAA state title in 2005, and it never backs down from all the heavy hitters in Lexington.
But taking home another All "A" trophy is nothing to take for granted. As Henzman said, "It's always a big deal to win a state championship of any sort."
Lexington Christian 000 130 0—4 6 0
DeSales 010 000 0—1 6 0
Taylor Blair, Drew Schacht (5) and Chad Hall. Jarrett Luckett, Nick McNiff (7) and Blake Dewsnap. W—Blair. L—Luckett. 2B—Hunter Tipton (D). HR—Lincoln Henzman (L).
Records: LCA 17-12, DeSales 15-17
Taylor Blair (MVP), Chad Hall, Clay Mossbarger, Aaron Johnson, Ben Cooper, LCA; Patrick Remines, Ryan Selent, Hunter Tipton, Blake Dewsnap, DeSales; Jeff Guidugli, Kyle Fuller, Covington Holy Cross; Blake Copass, Cord Glass, Glasgow.
Lexington Christian 313 72—16 14 1
Cov. Holy Cross 011 10— 3 7 3
Lincoln Henzman, David Malicote (5) and Chad Hall. Blake Tiberi, Joe Woeste (4), Jeff Guidugli (5) and Guidugli, Conner Callery (5). W—Henzman. L—Woeste. 2B—Taylor Blair (L), Henzman (L), Rick Pangallo (C).
Records: LCA 16-12, Covington Holy Cross 17-7.
Glasgow 000 200 00—2 5 3
DeSales 101 000 01—3 6 0
Parker Cash, Brock Johnson (7) and Camerin Garmon. Patrick Remines and Blake Dewsnap. W—Remines. L—Johnson. 2B—Alec Sorrels (G), Hunter Tipton (D), Ryan Seigle (D). HR—Dewsnap (D).
Records: Glasgow 15-6; DeSales 15-16