Lexington, KY (WDRB) - The St. Xavier Tigers (37-2) relied on their offense and a gutty pitching performance from junior Brycen Harkins to capture their third state title in five years with a 10-6 win over Highlands (29-14) at Whitaker Bank Ballpark in Lexington Saturday night.

"It's the best offensive team I've had in my seven years, one through nine, this is the best hitting team we've had," said St. X head coach Andy Porta.

The Tigers cranked out nine hits, including home runs from Ryan Nicholson and Andrew Littlefield, against Highlands four pitchers in the championship game.
Harkins (8-0) picked up the win, staying in the game after taking a ball off the chest while he was on the mound. It appeared the ball ricocheted off his hand.

"He swore to me, he said 'Coach, I'm fine. It just hit me in the chest' but he kept moving his throwing hand around," Porta said. "He didn't need a wake up call, but that was kind of a wake up call for him."

Harkins struck out five batters and gave up one earned run in the win.

"It feels good, especially for the seniors and how much they wanted it this year," Nicholson said.

With only five seniors on the roster, Porta was already optimistic about 2019 immediately after the 2018 season ended.

"As long as I'm coaching, we're never going to rebuild, we're going to keep reloading. We like our sophomore class, we like our freshman class, so we'll put pressure on them at the (season ending) banquet Tuesday night and say we want to be back here next year."

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