The Russell County Lakers are in the state championship.
The only two Kentucky high school teams still playing baseball are the Lakers and the St. Xavier Tigers, who will square off Saturday in the Clark’s Pump-N-Shop State Tournament finals. Russell secured its spot with a 10-0 win over Woodford County Friday, while St. X followed with its own semifinal win against McCracken County.
The game is set for 6 p.m. CT in Lexington at UK’s Kentucky Proud Park. The following is a by-the-numbers* look at each team.
Team offensive stats: .317 batting average; 21 home runs; 278 runs
Team pitching stats: 232 innings pitched; 1.51 ERA; 344 K; 87 walks; 79 runs allowed; 50 earned runs allowed
Nathan Lawson (11-2; 72 innings pitched; 0.78 ERA)
Cody Luttrell (12-0; 70.2 innings pitched; 0.50 ERA)
Nick Aaron (3-1; 29.1 innings pitched; 1.17 ERA)
Lawson (.464 average; 13 home runs; 45 RBI; 31 runs)
Isaac Roy (.427 average, 2 home runs; 30 RBI, 44 hits)
Mayes Gosser (.386 average; 2 home runs; 27 hits; 31 runs)
Aaron (.352 average; 19 RBI; 25 hits)
Trace Stringer (.345 average; 22 RBI; 30 hits; 24 runs; 14 stolen bases)
Team offensive stats: .301 batting average; 19 home runs; 288 runs
Team pitching stats: 284 innings pitched; 2.22 ERA; 284 K; 110 walks; 125 runs allowed; 90 earned runs allowed.
Benjamin Tedesco (6-1; 50 innings pitched; 1.12 ERA)
Ben Purnell (7-0; 36.1 innings pitched; 0.96 ERA)
Ty Starke (7-0; 43.1 innings pitched; 1.13 ERA)
Jake Gregor (4-3; 49.2 innings pitched; 2.82 ERA)
Lucas Lantz (4-1; 36 innings pitched; 2.92 ERA)
Cooper Smith (.450 average; 3 home runs; 58 hits; 53 runs; 15 stolen bases)
Jacob Bennett (.449 average; 13 home runs; 64 RBI; 49 hits)
Zach Marks (.316 average; 16 RBI; 35 runs)
Jack Thompson (.325 average; 13 RBI; 16 runs; 26 hits)
Gregor (.300 average; 29 RBI; 33 hits)
The hometown team has been led this season by arguably the best one-two punch on the mound in the entire state. First team all-state selections Nathan Lawson and Cody Luttrell have carried the load so far in the state tournament, and with Lawson earning the shutout win Friday, Luttrell is the assumed starter for the championship game. The duo — along with some impressive glovework from their teammates — have been responsible for the Lakers allowing just one run through three games so far at state.
While the Lakers are chasing the program’s first-ever state title, St. X is looking to raise earn its ninth championship. The champs from Louisville’s always-competitive Region 7 had reeled off four straight shutouts before winning Friday’s semifinal over McCracken County 5 to 4. They feature three NCAA commits in Starke and Gregor, who are headed to the University of Louisville this fall, and Lucas Lantz, who has committed to Yale. The Tigers have relied on a strong pitching staff to get this far, and their depth on the mound could be a factor in the finals.
Both teams are playing their best baseball of the season right now and the championship figures to be competitive and filled with excitement.
*Stats do not include Friday’s contests except for Nathan Lawson’s pitching and home run totals.