On Wednesday, the Lambert baseball team played 14 innings against West Forsyth. In that time, the Longhorns managed six hits and zero runs. They felt exhaustion, frustration, and, according to senior catcher/outfielder Collin Price, a bit of embarrassment.
But on Friday, in the fourth inning of their third game of the week against the Wolverines, Lambert was in full celebration mode, busting out a synchronized dance popularized by Ninja, a streamer of the video game "Fortnite," right after Gavin Nies ripped a double to left.
The game wound up lasting only five innings, with Lambert tallying 19 hits and winning by a mercy rule-inducing margin of 17-4.
"There was definitely some frustration (after Wednesday), but then we came and practiced on Thursday and just kind of forgot about it," said Price, who was 2-for-3 with two doubles on Friday.
For two innings, the game was competitive. The Longhorns put up three runs in the first and one in the second off West starter Matthew Cassandra, but the Wolverines responded with four in the bottom of the second off Lambert’s Asher McAllister.
Lambert kept piling on, though, while West's offensive production petered out against Longhorns righthander Sam Carlson. Lambert scored eight runs in the third inning, with 10 straight runners reaching base after Brady Burroughs flew out to left for the second out of the inning. In the fourth, the Longhorns poured on five more, with much of that production coming from bench players.
"The guys decided that their at-bats were about us in there, and when they took that approach, we had some success," Longhorns head coach Rick Howard said. "We had a lot of guys step in and change what they were doing, and we played for us today."
That different way of thinking in the box, which Lambert worked on during its practice on Thursday, involved a more controlled, deliberate approach at the plate, one emphasized on creating contact and helping out teammates on base, whether or not that involved getting a hit.
The contact that Lambert made on Friday found plenty of gaps -- no doubt aided by the strong winds at West (7-14, 2-7 Region 5-7A) -- but none of them left the yard.
Friday's display was a necessary one for Lambert (8-12, 4-5), which has a tough finishing stretch to the region schedule, with games against South and Milton, but is still in contention for a playoff spot.
There was some catharsis to it, as well.
"It feels awesome," said Price. "The whole season, we haven't had a game like this, where we put up a ton of runs. So it feels pretty great."