Lexington Catholic made fourth-ranked Lafayette uncomfortable even before the start of the 43rd District semifinals on Tuesday night.
"Catholic's a good team," Generals junior Cassidy Taylor said. "They give everyone the shakes."
The No. 23 Knights definitely had Lafayette shaken early, loading the bases with no outs in the first inning, but Taylor worked herself out of that jam, striking out the next two Knights and forcing a pop-up for the final out.
After that, she liked Lafayette's chances.
"We were ready to roll then," said Taylor, who also knocked one out of the Lafayette park to help the Generals win 5-0.
They advance to the district championship Wednesday night where they will face Paul Laurence Dunbar — an 11-7 winner over Tates Creek — in an attempt to win their second straight district title.
Taylor's mom, Coach Dana Taylor, said she could see it in her team's body language after they got out of the first inning without giving up a run.
"Absolutely," she said. "They got real confident after they got out of that one. ...Getting out of a jam like that does give you a little boost."
It helped give Lafayette a 2-0 boost after one inning.
The Generals scored both runs on an error.
"We had them on the ropes and needed to deliver that punch but couldn't," Catholic Coach Bob Griggs said.
Cassidy Taylor's homer, her fourth of the season, came in the third. Besides the two-run first, the Generals had runs in the second, third and fifth.
On her home run, Taylor said she knew it was gone when she hit it. "Off the bat I was thinking, 'I don't think I'm going to have to run very fast,' " she said smiling.
On the mound, Taylor gave up five hits in the win and struck out four.
Lafayette eighth-grader Katelyn Mitchell, batting in the ninth spot, added two hits for the Generals (33-4), who won their 10th straight game.
For Catholic (20-16), it was the end of the road in a season that brought the program's 300th victory.
"It's been a good season for us and we've had some big wins over some good teams, but we got a tough draw right out of the gate," Griggs said.
Paul Dunbar 11, Tates Creek 7: After a year absence, the Bulldogs returned to the region tournament, but the road back there was bumpy thanks to Tates Creek, which turned a 5-0 rout into a close game.
Eighth-grader Bailey Skaggs led the Bulldogs, batting in three runs, including two on her shot out of the park. It was part of a five-run second inning that looked like it was going to sink Creek.
But the Commodores put up a big fight, taking advantage of Dunbar miscues and making some big plays of their own to pull within 8-5 with a five-run fourth inning.
"We're happy to go to the region," Dunbar Coach Mike Wainscott said. "I'm not surprised that Creek had their good inning. It is tournament time.
"We didn't help ourselves in the fourth inning. We booted the ball all over the place."
In the sixth, Dunbar scored three more runs, including one on a double by Skaggs.
Freshman Ashton Salyers went 3-for-4 with two RBI in the second inning for Dunbar (22-13), which lost twice to Lafayette in the regular season.
Tates Creek (4-31) continued to fight into the seventh inning, scoring two more runs before the Bulldogs ended it. Senior Ashley Block and junior Jaclyn Cooper had two hits apiece for Creek.
Lexington Catholic 000 000 0—0 5 1
Lafayette 211 010 x—5 5 2
Kelsey Hambrick, Molly Dawson (4) and Hannah Simms. Cassidy Taylor and Alexis Hull. W—Taylor. L—Hambrick. 2B—Lindsay Griggs (LC). HR—Taylor (L).
Records—Lexington Catholic 20-16, Lafayette 33-4.
Paul Dunbar 050 303 0—11 9 4
Tates Creek 000 500 2— 7 8 3
Kaylie Zander and Corie Roberts. Kenzi Groft and Carleigh Adams. W—Zander. L—Groft. 2B—Bailey Skaggs (PLD), Alex Adams (TC), Finley Yuttayong (TC); 3B—Maggie Shell (PLD), HR—Skaggs (PLD).
Records—Paul Dunbar 22-13, Tates Creek 4-31.
Bryan Station advances
Bryan Station senior Stephanie Hamilton (4-1) pitched a shutout, giving up three hits and striking out two in a 4-0 victory against Henry Clay in the 42nd District semifinals at Sayre.
Bryan Station will play Scott County in the championship game on Wednesday.
42nd District at Sayre
Bryan Station 100 012 0—4 6 2
Henry Clay 000 000 0—0 3 2
Hamilton and Brock; Mathis and Hamilton. W—Hamilton. L—Mathis. 2B—Hoovler (B), Huddleston (B).
Records—Bryan Station 13-14-1; Henry Clay 16-15.