Scott County's longest winning streak of the baseball season and its continued domination of 11th Region opponents are the right signs at the right time.
The Cards completed a regular season sweep of host Lexington Christian Academy on Tuesday evening with 4-2 victory.
Backed up by a dozen hits, including a three in a two-run first inning that gave SC a lead it never relinquished, Philip Garner picked up his staff-leading seventh win and Trent Fox his fourth save.
It wasn't the 14-run explosion of the previous win over the Eagles, but Scott County (21-10) served up plenty of offense.
Cade McKee was perfect in four plate appearances with a double, two singles, a walk and two RBIs. Garner and Trace Willhoite each went 2-for-4, while Sam Daniel drove in a run.
Garner struck out three while allowing only one earned run and scattering nine hits. Cade Gudalis was the lone repeat hitter for LCA (17-14).
Fox and Kyle Harbison led off the game with singles against Eagles' starter Griffin Sahli. McKee's base hit to right furnished Garner with the 2-0 cushion before he took the mound.
LCA took one back in the bottom of the first, although Skyler Reeves atoned for an early miscue at third by starting a double play to minimize the damage.
Will Vernon followed with a single, and the Cards misplayed it in the outfield to put the Eagles on the board.
Garner slammed the door with a strikeout.
Walks by Seth Benner and Preston Rankin produced a mild threat in the SC second, but Sahli sandwiched those free passes by striking out the side.
Scott County shut down LCA's second-inning threat, a pair of singles, thanks to Kyle Harbison's inning-ending pick-off.
Neither side went down consecutively over the next two innings, but the scoreboard stayed quiet until back-to-back doubles by Willhoite and McKee in the fifth.
Daniel backed it up with another base hit to make it 4-1.
Garner was economical as ever, a trend that didn't change when singles by Jaxson Davis and Cameron Davis brought the tying run to the plate in the bottom of the fifth. Vernon flied out to Preston Rankin in center to complete the goose egg in an inning which no Eagle saw more than three pitches.
LCA was a swing away from knotting the game in both the sixth and seventh, but Garner and Fox kept those ideas to a dull roar.
The Eagles needed two groundouts to capitalize on a lead-off double against Garner, who allowed one more single to Vinny Ethington before coaxing another roller to Fox at shortstop.
Davis struck out Daniel and Garner to end the SC seventh after Willhoite singled and McKee walked. LCA then greeted Fox with a floater off the bat of Gudalis that dropped in front of Rankin.
Reeves fired to Garner for a fielder's choice to cut down Gudalis, and a line out to McKee in left and pop to Garner at second sealed the deal.
Scott County improved to 14-3 in the region after losing two of its first three to start the season.
The Cardinals closed last year's regular season on a seven-game binge. They had a chance to make it eight — and avenge one of those few region defeats — when they traveled to Woodford County after press time Wednesday.
Top seed and undefeated in the 42nd District for the fourth consecutive year, SC will face the winner of Saturday's Bryan Station-Sayre quarterfinal on Sunday afternoon at Henry Clay.
Kal Oakes can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.