Ryne Combs was Bryan Station's starting first baseman as a freshman when the Defenders knocked off No. 1 Lexington Christian Academy in the 11th Region semifinals in 2009.
Combs relived that thrill on Tuesday when he pitched 10th-ranked Bryan Station to a 2-1 victory over No. 1 Lexington Catholic in the region semifinals at Tates Creek.
The Defenders will play Woodford County, which edged Madison Central 3-2, in the finals on Wednesday night.
"This one feels better," Combs said with a smile after his dominant performance eliminated the defending region champion Knights.
Combs didn't consider this Defenders victory a surprise though: "We had confidence going in. We were rolling. So I don't think it was an upset at all."
The senior left-hander, who has signed with Kentucky, gave up a run and two hits in the first inning, but he no-hit the Knights the rest of the way. He struck out four and walked three to improve his record to 10-1 this spring.
"Ryne was everything an ace is supposed to be," Bryan Station Coach Eddie Brooks said.
Combs was backed by solid defense, especially from senior Brandon Mayle-George, who flashed a terrific glove at third base.
"He played a special role in a special game," Brooks said.
Lexington Catholic got its run in the first. Will Hurt led off with a single but was erased on Logan Taylor's fielder's choice. Tyler Jackson followed with a double to drive in Taylor.
Bryan Station tied it in the bottom of the first. Combs drew a leadoff walk, and his courtesy runner Devin Key scored when Lexington Catholic made a throwing error trying to complete a double play.
"Uncharacteristic of our guys," Knights Coach Taylor Brooks said. "But that's baseball."
Lexington Catholic senior lefty Colton Cleary was in control after that until Mayle-George led off the fourth with a double. Pinch runner Jacob Moore was sacrificed to third, and scored on Ryan Jourdan's double.
Jackson drew a leadoff walk in the sixth for the Knights, and moved to second on a sacrifice. But he was thrown out at third when Bryan Station catcher Jordan Lewis recovered after dropping a pitch.
Lexington Catholic got a leadoff walk in the seventh, prompting Eddie Brooks to visit Combs on the mound.
"I told him, 'The last time I looked at the scoreboard, they're chasing us, so let's go and finish this,' " Brooks said.
Combs got a lineout and groundout to finish it.
"We just didn't swing the bat great today," Taylor Brooks said after his Knights' quest for a fourth state title came to an end. "But that happens. That's baseball.
"It's tough to win it all, especially in this region."
Lexington Catholic 100 000 0—1 2 1
Bryan Station 100 100 x—2 5 3
Colton Cleary and Tyler Jackson. Ryne Combs and Jordan Lewis. W—Combs. L—Cleary. 2B—Brandon Mayle-George (BS), Ryan Jourdan (BS), Jackson (LC), Elijah Burdette (BS).
Records—Lex. Catholic 32-8; Bryan Station 28-12.