ROSWELL — Lambert didn’t show any signs of feeling pressure with its new No. 1 ranking.
The Longhorns, who are ranked first in the latest Score Atlanta top 10 poll, rattled off 13 hits en route to a season-high run total and knocked off winless Centennial 13-3 on Wednesday at the Knights’ field.
"I thought we did a good job of putting the ball in play and good baserunning tonight with putting pressure on the defense," Lambert head coach Jamie Corr said. "[Eric] Furphy came ready to swing it and really did a good job of attacking the ball early in the count."
"We’re definitely centered around pitching and defense and to have a run output like we did tonight is good, but the backbone of this team is our pitching and defense."
The backbone did its part as five Lambert pitchers combined for eight strikeouts and seven hits. The Knights (0-12, 0-4 Region 6-AAAAAA) scored two runs in the fourth inning and one in the sixth, but never kept the game close.
The Longhorns (10-2, 4-0) torched Centennial for four runs in the first inning. Jake Chickowski was hit by a pitch from Ryan Tillman with the bases loaded to score Danny Edgeworth, who started the rally with a one-out walk. Furphy then hit a long single off the right field fence to bring in Brock Maxwell and Ian Kimbrell, while Chickowski moved to third. Tucker Maxwell reached on an error by the first baseman to load the bases for Trey Logan. Centennial pitcher Ryan Tillman (3 IP, 5 H, 5 ER, 1 BB, 2 HBP) hit Logan with a pitch to score Chickowski and give Lambert a 4-0 lead.
Lambert added a run in the second inning when Jeremy Johnson reached on an error by the shortstop and scored from third on a passed ball. Furphy, a sophomore, tacked on another run in the third inning with a solo home run to left field and made the score 6-0.
"I’ve been putting a lot of work in — we’ve all been," Furphy said. "It’s just hard work. Late at night [when] I get home, I take about a 100 swings a night, so it’s the hard work.
"I haven’t hit [a home run] in high school yet, so it was kind of a surprise. I try to hit for average; I’m not a power hitter."
Brock Maxwell (3-for-4, 2B, HR) continued the offensive attack as he was hit by a pitch with one out in the fourth inning, stole second and scored after Chickowski (2-for-3) singled. Furphy doubled to left field to put runners in scoring position for Tucker Maxwell, who recorded an RBI single to boost the lead to 8-0.
Centennial got two runs back in the bottom half of the frame as Zach Davis singled to score Michael Lopez and Jason Willoughby scored on a balk.
The Longhorns only recorded two hits in the sixth inning, but still managed to score four runs after Centennial made two errors and two wild pitches.
Logan singled to center field to score Furphy from third before an error by the shortstop allowed Tucker Maxwell, who reached on a fielder’s choice, to score from second. Will Dunavant knocked in Logan with an RBI single to right field and Austin Loughmiller scored on a passed ball to make the score 12-2.
The Knights were nearly mercy-ruled in the bottom of the sixth, but Marcus Fitzhugh hit a two-out single past the second baseman to score Davis and kept them alive for one more inning.
Brock Maxwell cushioned the lead with a solo home run in the seventh for the game’s final run.