It's been an amazing run for Lafayette.
In the sun, then the rain, then the cold Thursday night, the No. 12 Generals won their third straight 43rd District title, 11-1 over Paul Laurence Dunbar.
It's been three years since Lafayette has fallen to a team from Lexington.
This season, the Generals have given up just two runs to city teams (both coming this week in the district tournament).
"It's been a great ride," Coach Dana Taylor said at Lexington Catholic on Thursday night. "I'm absolutely so proud of them. It's really impressive what they've accomplished."
Taylor couldn't quite put her finger on what's made Lafayette so good the past few seasons. The coach paused for a minute and talked about execution and key hits and defense.
Then she got to the heart of it.
"They're a tight-knit, very special group of kids," Taylor said. "Very special."
Her players agreed.
"We're just really, really close," explained junior pitcher Emily Kincaid, who combined with senior Cassidy Taylor to scatter four hits over six innings Thursday.
Kincaid also had two RBI in the first two innings to help the Generals grab a 5-0 advantage.
Senior Alyssa Oakley said it's easy to tell the Generals like each other on the field and off.
"Winning is always awesome, but off the field, we communicate," Oakley said. "We get along. You see that translate on the field, too."
Oakley's home run in the fourth inning drove in two runs. She also had an RBI single in the first inning.
Both teams advance to the 11th Region Tournament, which starts Monday at the University of Kentucky.
With other ranked teams in the field like No. 8 Scott County, the defending region champion, and No. 14 Franklin County, the Generals know they're not promised a trip to the state tournament.
But getting to Owensboro would mean a lot to seniors like Oakley, who know that three district championships is impressive but not the goal.
"Us seniors really want to win it," Oakley said. "There's extra pressure, but we're ready for it. We've prepared for it by playing several top-10 teams. This year we're more confident in our ability to win."
Paul Dunbar 001 000 — 1 4 4
Lafayette 320 402—11 7 0
Shelby Shanks, Kaylie Zander (2), Shanks (4), Zander (4) and Stephanie Harvey. Emily Kincaid, Cassidy Taylor (3), Kincaid (4) and Alexis Hull. W—Kincaid. L—Shanks. 2B—Hull (L), Kincaid (L), Kaitlyn Elias (PLD). HR—Alyssa Oakley (L).
Records — Paul Laurence Dunbar 15-16, Lafayette 21-10.
All-Tournament Team — Emily Kincaid, Alyssa Oakley, Brittany Sims, Cassidy Taylor (Lafayette); Kaitlyn Elias, Kristy Leininger, Shelby Shanks (Paul Laurence Dunbar); Jordan Woeste, Briana Dawson (Lexington Christian); Lindsay Griggs, Beth Mueller (Lexington Catholic); Jaclyn Cooper, Finley Yuttayong (Tates Creek).