FRANKFORT — Madison Central used small ball and long ball to knock off Lexington Catholic 8-2 in a matchup of top-25 teams Monday in the 11th Region baseball tournament at Western Hills.
No. 23 Madison Central fell behind 2-0 early, then manufactured four runs, including one on a perfect two-strike squeeze bunt, to take a 4-2 lead.
The Indians then found an unexpected power stroke in the sixth inning. Joe Holbrook hammered a solo homer, and Seth Richardson added a three-run shot to bury No. 10 Lexington Catholic.
"That was a lot of fun," Madison Central Coach Steve Roof said.
Jeremy Lakes threw a five-hitter for the winners. The junior right-hander didn't strike out anybody, but that was OK.
"I just threw strikes, kept the ball in the yard and let my defense do its thing," Lakes said.
Lakes gave up two runs in the first when Lexington Catholic's Daniel Little singled, Riley Jackson doubled and Griffin Neuer's sacrifice fly drove in Little. C.J. Bush singled home Jackson.
But the Knights got only two more hits off Lakes over the last six innings. "I found my groove, found my stride on the mound," he said.
Madison Central relied on small ball to come from behind. Lexington Catholic starter Willie Poe gave the Indians a run in the second by walking four batters in a row.
Madison Central took the lead with three runs in the fifth. Ben Morin led off with a single, Richardson sacrificed him to second and Hunter Kabalen's infield hit moved him to third.
Pinch hitter Hunter Hotchkiss then executed a two-strike squeeze bunt to bring Morin home with the tying run. The Indians kept the inning alive, and two more runs scored on Jonah Kelsey's sacrifice fly and a passed ball.
The Indians, who had only two home runs this season coming into the region, added insurance in the sixth as Holbrook and Richardson homered to left.
"We're not a long-ball team. We're small ball with speed," Roof said. "But today we did hit two (homers), and both were by sophomores."
Richardson said Holbrook's shot was "a no-doubter. Mine was like a fly ball that I got under and it kept carrying over the fence."
Richardson said Madison Central gained "a lot of confidence" when it rallied from a 3-0 deficit to beat Lexington Catholic 8-7 during the regular season.
Knights Coach Taylor Brooks said he didn't think his team played poorly.
"(Lakes) kept us off balance a little bit. We had too many flyouts. We got under a lot of baseballs. But we hit some balls really hard that they made nice plays on.
"They're a good team and well-coached.
"I'm proud of my seniors and this team as a whole. We'll come back ready to go next year."
Madison Central 8, Lex. Catholic 2
Lexington Catholic 200 000 0—2 5 0
Madison Central 010 034 x—8 8 1
Willie Poe, Griffin Neuer (5), Anthony Ethington (6) and Riley Jackson. Jeremy Lakes and Cory Mullins. 2B—Jackson (LC), Jonah Kelsey (MC). HR—Joe Holbrook (MC), Seth Richardson (MC).
Records: Lexington Catholic 23-13; Madison Central 28-8