In the most intense moments of the most important game of the season, Dawson Hall kept one simple thought in his mind. "Just throw the ball," the Madison Central senior left-hander said. Hall worked out of trouble in the sixth and seventh innings against Lexington Christian Academy on Saturday afternoon in the opening round of the 11th Region Tournament at Don Richardson Field.
Senior Tyler Brook's walk-off single to deep center gave the Indians (30-8) a 3-2 win over the Eagles (20-8) in Richmond. Central had just seven hits off LCA stater Elijah Hammond, but scored twice in the first inning and put together the game-winning rally in the seventh.
The Indians will take on either Frederick Douglass (27-8) or Great Crossing (19-11) at 6 p.m. Sunday at Lexington Catholic.
"I can't say enough about Dawson," Central coach Steve Roof said of Hall. "Gutsy performance. He had command of a three pitches and was really dominant."
Hall finished with 12 strikeouts — including five in the first two innings — and allowed just four hits and four walks.
The senior didn't allow a hit until the fifth inning, when the Eagles pushed across two runs to tie the game.
LCA had chances to take the in the final two innings. The Eagles got a bunt hit and a walk in the sixth, but stranded both runners. In the seventh, Clay Matthews led-off with a double and Hall later issued a walk.
On his 120th pitch — the maximum allowed under KHSAA rules — the senior struck out Cole Ginter.
"There's nothing better," Hall said the win. "I love playing with these boys and winning is even better."
Carter Ruffner was hit by a pitch to lead-off the bottom of the seventh. After a flyout, Brandon Anderson ripped a single to center. The senior shortstop was 2-for-3 on Saturday with a walk and scored a run.
"I knew we had a guy who was really hot (on deck) and could walk it off," Anderson said of Brook. "I just wanted to pass it to him – and that's what he did."
Hall was also confident Brook would could up big in the big moment.
"We know its over when (Tyler) gets up," Hall said.
Brook didn't waste any time.
He ripped the first pitch he saw from Hammond over the center fielder.
"I wasn't trying to do anything special," Brook said. "I got the best pitch I had seen all day and drove it to the wall."
Anderson and Brook were part of big first inning for Central.
Hayden Robbins had an infield single and Anderson walked. Brook reached on an error and Matt Bryan later delivered a two-run single.
"We knew we would see a pretty good arm," Anderson said. "So, I just tried to stay with my approach, hit line drives and pass it to the next guy."
Central has advanced to the semifinals of the 11th Region Tournament in each of the past three seasons.
To get back to the finals for the first time since 2018, the Indians know they will have to beat another 20-win team.
"We will celebrate this one just very shortly, then turn our focus to tomorrow," Roof said.