Tates Creek celebrates 11th Region baseball championship
A dynamite effort at the plate on Tuesday got Tates Creek to the 11th Region championship game. Its patience there on Wednesday helped deliver a title.
The Commodores used a sixth-inning explosion to turn a one-run lead into a comfortable one on their way to defeating 43rd District rival Lafayette, 7-1, for the region crown and a berth to the semi-state round.
It was Tates Creek’s first region title since 2014. The Commodores completed a 4-0 sweep of Lafayette this season, beating the Generals for the second time in eight days.
Tates Creek will play Somerset in the semi-state round on Saturday at 7 p.m. at Kentucky Proud Park.
Eli Tencza pitched a complete game for Tates Creek, surrendering four hits and three walks. Starting with the second out in the top of the fourth, Tates Creek retired nine straight batters before Lafayette’s Jack Harris reached on a walk with one out in the seventh. A 1-6-3 double play sealed it for the Commodores.
Tates Creek scored its final five runs in the bottom of the sixth. Wichita State signee Colin Burgess hit an RBI single with the bases loaded before Blayne Deaton cleared the bases with a double. Chandler Workman hit a sacrifice fly to push the Commodores’ lead to six runs before the inning ended.
That was more than enough for Tencza.
“Whenever we got those runs I knew it was over, cause I wasn’t gonna give up those runs in that last inning,” Tencza said. “That was a good way to end it.”
Tencza helped his own cause on offense, too. His single in the bottom of the first scored Noah Blythe. Lafayette responded in the top of the third on an RBI-single by Sammy Tackett.
Four straight Commodores reached base via walk — Bradley Fetherston the last one to earn the RBI — to go up 2-1 in the bottom of the fourth.
An error allowed Dylan Cook to reach before a bunt single by Fetherston put Commodores at first and second in the bottom of the sixth. At that juncture, Lafayette brought in Zak Tudor to relieve starter Hayden Tomazic, who’d struck out six and allowed only three hits but walked eight batters. Blythe singled off Tudor before Burgess started the decisive scoring barrage.
“We kept being patient and didn’t press, and stayed right there with the course of it, and eventually guys kept doing their jobs,” Poynter said. “Then we got the big hit from Blayne and Eli did a great job on the mound. I’m just so proud of these kids and happy for Tates Creek. To bring this back, it’s a great experience.”