A showdown between No. 9 Tates Creek and No. 19 Western Hills and their star pitchers could make Memorial Day a memorable day in the 11th Region baseball tournament.
Tates Creek's Trevor Gott (6-0) and Western Hills' J.T. Riddle (6-0), both University Kentucky signees, will match right arms in the featured first-round game Monday at 1 p.m. at Franklin County.
When the teams met in mid-April, Western Hills won 15-5. Neither Riddle nor Gott pitched in that game.
"We'll have our hands full," Tates Creek Coach Dom Fucci said of the rematch. "Western Hills has a fine club; I just hope we can stay with them."
Wolverines Coach Seth Knight said his team would prepare for Gott, but he wouldn't be surprised if Fucci sent somebody else to the mound.
"You never can tell with Dom; he's outside the box most of the time, everybody knows that," Knight said.
Knight described Riddle and Gott as "very similar. Both throw hard, and both have pretty good breaking stuff. If it does turn into that matchup, it'll be fun and exciting for sure."
A Lexington team has won 15 of the last 16 region titles. (The exception was Franklin County in 2001.)
Western Hills and Madison Central look like solid contenders this year.
The Wolverines are having their best season in school history. Knight, in his first year as coach, has guided them to their first 20-win season, including a three-game sweep of arch-rival Franklin County.
Besides Riddle, who's also a standout shortstop, Western Hills' offense is led by Andrew Cammack, Marcus Howard and Dylan Curry, a Louisville football signee.
Madison Central Coach Steve Roof described his Indians as a well-balanced team.
"We don't have a No. 1 (pitcher) like Gott or Riddle. We just try to throw strikes, play solid defense and have some quality at-bats."
Roof said Madison Central, which faces Franklin County in its region opener, "pitches by committee," with Nicky Edwards, Logan Smith and Zach Harmon anchoring the staff.
First baseman Austin Hunt and shortstop Cole Metcalfe are the Indians' top hitters.
Roof thinks the region is "wide open. A lot of it depends on pitching matchups, like when do they throw Gott and Riddle? That's kind of the wild card."
Henry Clay, which drew Model as its first opponent, will probably try to save ace left-hander Nolan Fernandez for the semifinals.
Lexington Christian has three top pitchers in Clay Hall, Nate Coon and Joe Duncan. One question mark for the Eagles is senior center fielder and lead-off hitter Lucas Witt, a UK signee. He saw little action in the district tournament because of a hamstring injury.
Bryan Station will likely throw sophomore lefty Ryne Combs against LCA.
The 11th Region has produced five of the last seven state champions: Lexington Catholic (2006, '09), Paul Laurence Dunbar (2003, '07), and LCA (2005).