Tia Wilson's RBI-triple in the bottom of the seventh inning was the difference Wednesday as top-seeded Paul Laurence Dunbar scored a 12-11 walkoff victory over Lafayette in the 43rd District championship game at Lafayette's McKenzie Field.
"I was actually praying," Wilson said of her approach at the plate. "I was saying, 'Lord, just let me have a big hit so I can get on base at least because I know I'm going to score when I get on base.' And he pulled through for me, and got the winning hit, so I'm glad."
Wilson's triple to right-center scored Sydney Arnold, who had reached on a fielder's choice.
Both teams advance to next week's region tourney at Dunbar.
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The teams, which split a pair of regular-season meetings, combined for eight home runs Wednesday — four by each.
Shelby Shanks cranked a pair for Dunbar (16-13), while Stephanie Harvey and Brooke Hill had one each. Shanks also picked up the win, pitching 22⁄3 innings in relief.
"I was seeing the ball really well tonight," Shanks said, "and pitching-wise I wanted to get in there — I'm a senior; I just want to help my team."
Caroline Perkins, Kara Bethel, Madison Burke and Kara Winchester went deep for Lafayette (23-14).
"It's always fun to win District and it's always a battle against Lafayette," Bulldogs Coach Jenny Dalton-Hill said.
"Not just four (homers) on our side, there were four on the other side that had to be combated. So that's probably the best Lafayette-Dunbar game I've ever been a part of. With eight home runs, you never know who's going to win."
Lafayette scored a run in the top of the first, but solo homers by Harvey and Shanks put Dunbar ahead 2-1 through one.
Perkins homered to tie the score in the third, but Dunbar's Wilson scored from third on an illegal pitch in the bottom of the inning.
Also in the third, Shanks drilled a liner off Lafayette pitcher Kecia Stephens' right hand. Stephens exited the game but re-entered an inning later.
The slugfest continued in the fourth, with Lafayette scoring four times and Dunbar five, making it 8-6 for the Bulldogs.
The Generals took a 9-8 lead in the top of the fifth, when Burke hit a two-run homer and Winchester added a solo dinger.
Arnold's sacrifice fly in the bottom of the inning tied the game at 9.
Both teams scored a pair of runs in the sixth, with Dunbar's coming on Hill's homer to left-center.
In the seventh, Shanks set Lafayette down in order, the only 1-2-3 inning for either team.
That left things for Wilson to take care of in the bottom of the inning.
"It kind of played out the way it should, both teams being first and second in the district," Generals Coach Keven Stephens said. "It was a good game for the fans to watch. Basically, whoever the home team was in this game you could almost bet was going to be the winner. Both teams played really good.
"I take my hat off to Dunbar. They really did what they had to do, and that was a real nice hit there at the end."
Paul Dunbar 12, Lafayette 11
Lafayette 101 432 0—11 12 1
Paul Dunbar 201 512 1—12 16 0
Stephens, Winchester (3), Stephens (4), Jeter (6) and Dillon; Schweighardt, Wilson (4), Shanks (5) and Foxworth. 2B—Dillon, L; Brown, D. 3B—Bethel, L; Wilson, D. HR—Perkins, Bethel, Burke, Winchester, L; Harvey, Shanks 2, Hill, D.
All-tournament team — Dunbar: Shelby Shanks (MVP), Riley Brown, Stephanie Harvey and Tia Wilson; Lafayette: Kara Bethel, Madison Burke and Kara Winchester; Tates Creek: Kendall Fields and Bree Whitson; Lexington Catholic: Maddie Brown and Sophie Robic; Lexington Christian: Elise Shewmaker.