NICHOLASVILLE — Lexington Christian's hopes of repeating as small-school state baseball champ weren't just dampened Sunday. They were soaked and muddied.
Day-long rain forced the cancellation of the Touchstone Energy All "A" Classic. The tournament was previously postponed by rain on Kentucky Derby weekend.
"It's disappointing because winning this is one of our major goals every year," LCA Coach Keith Galloway said.
The Eagles weathered the elements to beat Pikeville 8-1 in eight innings in Sunday's quarterfinals, but field conditions became unplayable during the semifinals at Memorial Sports Complex.
The tournament was called with LCA and Whitefield Academy of Louisville tied 4-4 in the fourth, while on another field DeSales led Russellville 8-3 in the fourth.
Galloway said he will try to get the teams together to finish the All "A," but with just one week left in the regular season, that will be difficult.
"We've got a big senior class, and this tournament meant a lot to them," Galloway said. "They wanted to put their stamp on it. It'll be very disappointing if they don't get the chance."
Senior centerfielder Lucas Witt said the All "A" is "a big deal to us. We're a small school, so this is important. We wanted to win it again."
If the tournament can't be completed, LCA will turn its attention to competing for a bigger prize — a KHSAA state championship, like the Eagles won in 2005.
LCA (19-9), ranked sixth in the state, is once again considered a title contender.
The Eagles have looked strong in beating top 20 teams St. Xavier, Male, Lafayette and Madison Central, but they've been plagued at times by an inconsistent offense.
"We just need to hit better in crucial situations," Galloway said. "That would make it a lot easier on everybody."
The top half of the batting order — Witt, Steven Hoagland, Evan Stephens and Clay Mossbarger — has been pretty reliable. "Those first four guys can stick with anybody," Galloway said.
Witt, who has signed with Kentucky, is the catalyst.
"He's been phenomenal, with his on-base percentage and his batting average (over .400)," Galloway said.
Witt and Stephens think the offense is coming around again, as evidenced by a five-game winning streak.
"When our bats are on, we're one of the best teams in the state," Witt said.
"We've been hitting the ball better lately, and when we do that, we're tough to beat," he said. "We're getting back to mid-season form."
The Eagles have three solid starting pitchers, led by ace lefthander Clay Hall.
"He's been great keeping people from putting hits together," Galloway said.
Senior Nate Coon and junior Joe Duncan have been strong on the mound, too, relying on what their coach calls a "bulldog mentality."
With the district tournament just a week away, Galloway is optimistic his team's best baseball is ahead.
"This is a great group of kids," he said. "They have a fantastic attitude and get along great. I think they're ready for what's coming."