Lexington Catholic senior Dave Mueller was 1-for-1 at the plate on Monday. His lone at-bat resulted in an RBI single that lifted the Knights over defending 11th Region champion Madison Central, 6-5, after eight innings at Lafayette.
Some timely hitting and a solid bullpen effort helped the No. 8 Knights turn the tables on the fourth-ranked Indians after losing 7-2 at home 12 days ago and trailing 3-0 early on Monday. Mueller’s single in the top of the eighth got into center field and scored courtesy runner Trenton Neuer. The throw to home beat him but the catcher couldn’t apply the tag.
Trip Lockhart got the win for Lexington Catholic with a three-hit, one-walk performance in three innings of relief. The University of Kentucky commitment threw 48 pitches and will be available Wednesday if the Knights advance past Tuesday’s semifinals, where they’ll meet Scott County, an 8-3 winner against Franklin County.
Lockhart knew he’d have to match Central’s aggressiveness at the plate with his own on the mound.
“I knew that I had to throw first-pitch strikes,” Lockhart said. “They hit the ball well so I was just trying to attack early on in the counts.”
Madison Central finished with nine hits to seven for Lexington Catholic. Central got out to a 2-0 lead in the first inning and was up 3-0 after two. Only one of the three runs Knights starter Carson Coleman gave up was earned. He led Catholic with four strikeouts before Sam Hodges relieved him after one and two-thirds innings. Hodges surrendered a run in the fourth and struck out three.
Lexington Catholic drew to within 3-2 in the third inning and held Central off the board in the bottom frame. Leadoff hitters Steven Bender and Bo Bennington drew walks to begin the fourth inning. Landon Moberly grounded out before Eric Sottile was hit by a pitch to load the bases. Center fielder Andy Thompson scored Bender on a bunt single that got into right field on a throwing error, allowing Bennington to reach home and put Catholic ahead for the first time. The Knights added a fifth run on another Central error to go up 5-3.
“They did a good job of not riding the waves of baseball and staying even-keeled pretty much through the game,” Knights Coach Taylor Brooks said.
An RBI single by Josh Wright scored Seth Richardson in bottom of the fourth to get Central to within 5-4. The Indians nearly tied it but Wright later ran into a fielder’s choice tag at home plate.
Central would go onto to tie things in the bottom of the seventh after pinch-hitter Adam Ritchey beat a close-call throw to first base for a two-out, bases-loaded RBI single. Jacob Ferris flew out to end the frame.
Mueller answered with his own two-out, pinch-hit single. Brooks knew the senior would deliver.
“I trust him,” he said. “It’s his last year and we have a lot of confidence in him. He went in and got a big hit.”
Coleman, Hodges (2), Lockhart (6) and Moberly; Kelsey, Sewell (4), Presnell (4), Naugle (5), Sexton (8) and Black. 2B—Bush (LC). Records: Lexington Catholic 25-12, Madison Central 29-7.
11th Region tournament
Tuesday’s semifinals: Lexington Catholic vs. Scott County, 6 p.m.; Henry Clay vs. Madison Southern-Western Hills winner, 8 p.m.
Wednesday’s finals: 6 p.m.