Lexington Catholic is rated No. 1 in the state as the high school baseball playoffs begin, but Knights Coach Taylor Brooks doesn't have to worry about his team being overconfident.
"We've reminded them all season what happened last year," Brooks said.
Lexington Catholic went into the 2010 playoffs as the defending state champion and rated No. 1 in Kentucky. But Tates Creek, led by the dominant pitching of UK signee Trevor Gott, beat the Knights 8-0 in the opening game of the district tournament.
"Our guys remember what that felt like, to lose in the first round of the district," said Brooks, in his first season as head coach after being an assistant last year.
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"They realize they've got to come into each game and play like it's their last because it could be."
The 43rd District is once again the strongest in the state, with four teams in the top 10. Besides top-rated Lexington Catholic, there's No. 6 Lafayette, No. 8 Tates Creek and No. 10 Paul Dunbar.
Unranked Lexington Christian, the defending region champ, has struggled this spring but it still owns a victory over Lexington Catholic.
Lafayette Coach Chris Langston summed up the competition in the district this way: "Every team could win the state, or could lose their first game in the district. There have been a lot of good games, close games this season, and it'll be like that in the tournament."
The best regular-season game was Lexington Catholic's 1-0 victory over Lafayette in 10 innings that showcased the teams' aces — the Knights' Taylor Martin and the Generals' Logan Shaftner.
In the 42nd District, Bryan Station is the favorite. The No. 12 Defenders were undefeated against district rivals Henry Clay, Sayre and Scott County in the regular season.
District winners and runners-up advance to the 11th Region Tournament, which will begin with four games on Memorial Day (May 30) at Whitaker Bank Ballpark.
No. 2 Madison Central and No. 21 Woodford County are expected to reach the region, too.