High School Baseball

Tates Creek keeps rising against LCA in high school baseball

Tates Creek starting pitcher Aaron Mitchell,  a sophomore, held Lexington Christian to four hits and struck out eight in more than six innings for his fifth win.
Tates Creek starting pitcher Aaron Mitchell, a sophomore, held Lexington Christian to four hits and struck out eight in more than six innings for his fifth win.

The rain finally stopped Tuesday afternoon, but the Creek kept rising.

Tates Creek, that is.

The Commodores' high school baseball team beat Lexington Christian Academy 9-3 on the artificial turf at Lexington Catholic on Tuesday night. In the nightcap, No. 5 Lexington Catholic edged No. 3 Lafayette.

Tates Creek got solid pitching, hammered 13 hits and played error-free defense in showing why it keeps rising in the coaches' poll.

No. 24 in the pre-season ratings, the Commodores are now No. 14 and have victories over top-10 Lafayette, Male and Paul Laurence Dunbar.

"We've got a nice hitting club and a good defensive club," Coach Dom Fucci said. "If we get good pitching like tonight, we're in the hunt."

The Commodores roughed up LCA early, with four runs in the second inning, and had an 8-0 lead after five.

Ryan Fucci, who's flirting with .400, contributed a two-run single and his fourth homer of the season.

Landon Skaggs, who's batting close to .500, had three singles. Dorian Hairston, another .400 hitter, had a double and scored twice, once on a brazen steal of home.

Andrew Bryant chipped in with a pair of RBI singles and a run.

Every spot in the Tates Creek order had at least one hit.

Defending 11th Region champ LCA, which has struggled this season, had trouble getting anything off Commodores starter Aaron Mitchell.

The sophomore left-hander blanked the Eagles on two hits through six innings. He tired a bit in the seventh, surrendered three runs, and finally gave way to reliever Brooks Ward with two outs.

Mitchell had eight strikeouts, walked five and gave up four hits in improving his record to 5-1.

"He threw a whale of a game," Dom Fucci said. "He pitched for us last year, so he's no rookie. He knows what he's doing out there."

Tates Creek is a mix of veterans and young guys, so it figures to have a big upside.

Its deep pitching staff includes Mitchell, Devin Jackson, Austin Broome, Logan Howard, Conner Belcher and Nick Richmond.

Ryan Fucci, the coach's son who has signed to play baseball at WKU, is one of the veterans. Also an all-state basketball player, Ryan said the transition to baseball this spring took him a little while after an upset loss to Madison Central in the 11th Region semifinals.

"At first I struggled hard to get over that," he said. "It came around, but I feel I've still got a little more basketball to get out of me."

Skaggs, a junior catcher, said the foul weather hasn't kept Tates Creek from getting better.

"With all the rain, it kind of breaks your rhythm, but we've been able to practice quite a bit and come along," he said.

But life in the 43rd District — the toughest district in the state — can be cruel with Dunbar, Lafayette, Lexington Catholic, LCA and Tates Creek battling it out.

What will it take for the Commodores to survive in the post-season?

"Timely hitting, timely fielding, timely pitching and working hard," Skaggs said.

Tates Creek 041 120 1—9 13 0

Lexington Christian 000 000 3—3 5 2

Aaron Mitchell, Brooks Ward (7) and Landon Skaggs. Taylor Blair, Scout McCamy (3), Aaron Johnson (5) and Chad Hall. W—Mitchell (TC). L—Blair (LCA). 2B—Devin Jackson (TC), Dorian Hairston (TC), Mitchell Watson (TC), McCamy (LCA). HR—Ryan Fucci (TC).

Records—LCA 9-16; Tates Creek 13-6

Lexington Catholic 1, Lafayette 0: Tyler Wells’ bases-loaded single with one out in the bottom of the 10th inning drove in pinch-runner Corey Wells with the winning run as No. 5 Lexington Catholic edged No. 3 Lafayette late Tuesday night.

Wells’ RBI ended a tense three-hour duel.

The starting pitchers were outstanding.

Lafayette’s Logan Shaftner, a senior righthander who has signed with Parkland Junior College in Champaign, Ill., threw seven shutout innings. He gave up one hit, walked five and struck out eight.

Lexington Catholic’s Taylor Martin, a senior righty who signed with UK, worked eight shutout innings. He gave up two hits, walked three and fanned seven.

Tyler Arthur picked up the win in relief for the Knights. Lafayette had two runners on with no outs in the ninth, and loaded the bases with two outs, but Arthur ended the threat with a strikeout.

Blake Smith took the loss in relief for the Generals.

Ryan Madaleno doubled to lead off the bottom of the 10th and Nick Chaffin sacrificed him to second.

Will Hurt drew a walk, and Smith put Tyler Jackson on with an intentional walk to load the bases.

Tyler Wells then crushed a long drive to deep center to chase home Corey Wells with the winning run.

Lafayette 000 000 000 0 – 0 4 1

Lexington Catholic 000 000 000 1 – 3 0

Logan Shaftner, Blake Smith (8) and Tyler Messner. Taylor Martin, Colton Cleary (9), Arthur (9) and Tyler Jackson. W—Arthur. L—Smith.

Records—Lafayette 15-4; LexCath 16-5