The expectations entering this past season for Lambert baseball and reigning player of the year Seth Beer, though it was done in some corners with furrowed brows.
Could the Longhorns really repeat the dominance of 2014, when it went 36-2 to win the Class AAAAAA championship and finish ranked No. 1 in two national polls?
Could Beer really repeat his performance at the plate that made him the county player of the year and an All-American?
Lambert, as it turned out, could not, losing in the first round of the state playoffs to – of all teams – Milton, the team it defeated in the state championship series the year before.
Beer, as it turned out, though, could.
The junior right fielder hit .560 (47-for-84) with 18 doubles, eight home runs and 41 RBIs in 29 games, a season that made him a no-brainer selection to repeat as the 2015 Forsyth County News’ Baseball Player of the Year.
A second straight season dominating Georgia’s highest classification now has some wondering what Beer has left to prove in high school. He’s heard the rumors everywhere he goes. Maybe he’ll graduate early and go to Clemson, where he verbally committed to play. Maybe he’ll go instead to junior college. After all, his former coach at Lambert, Jamie Corr, is now at Florida Southwestern State College.
Beer was determined not to let the rumors affect his play.
“The biggest challenge was I think the thought of where will be my next jersey, and where will I be playing this next season, if I’ll be back,” Beer said. “Just all the thoughts of that going through your mind. But obviously just trying not to put too much pressure on myself or try to pressure myself with other people’s expectations was probably something I struggled with at the beginning of the year. I just kind of had to step back.”
Question: How would you describe this past season?
Beer: “Obviously it was a season of ups and downs. Especially in the sport of baseball, nothing is ever guaranteed. I feel like we kind of didn’t work together in the fact that we should’ve started on a new page. I think we reflected back more on what we did the year before, and as the year grew on and arms started to get tired, legs started to hurt, I feel like we started to find that groove. And then obviously the last series against Milton, that’s just baseball. No matter what people might say, that’s all it was, was baseball. That can happen to any team any given day, and it just so happen it seemed to be Milton’s day.”
Question: What felt like the biggest challenge for you?
Beer: “The biggest challenge was I think the thought of where will be my next jersey, and where will I be playing this next season, if I’ll be back – just all the thoughts of that going through your mind. But obviously just trying not to put too much pressure on myself or try to pressure myself with other people’s expectations was probably something I struggled with at the beginning of the year.
“I just kind of had to step back. I actually went back to one of the little Longhorns games and just went and watched. Just kind of went back to why I started to play the game in the first place. That’s always a great thing to do. Now I do that frequently, just a place to before the scouts, before the people screaming your name of, “Go Longhorns!” and all that stuff. Before the radar guns, the college coaches. Just why you played the game and why you need to keep playing the game is the same reason: because you love it.”
Question: If you could pick out a highlight from this season, what would it be?
Beer: “Favorite moment would probably be the day we clinched region. It was an up and down season, and we pulled together two solid games against Centennial and Habersham. During that we scored close to 30 runs, and I ended up going 6-for-6 with two home runs, three doubles and I think it was seven RBIs. It was a pretty good day. But I just wanted to do whatever I could to put ourselves in a position to win, and I felt like I had maybe accomplished that that day.”