It didn’t take long before Lambert baseball fans came to expect greatness from Seth Beer. Thanks to his natural talent and revamped mindset, the sophomore outfielder delivered far more often than not.
By the mid-way point of the season no one would be surprised when he’d knock one out of the park. An extra base hit felt like the norm; a game in which he didn’t get more than one hit felt like an abnormality.
Case in point: in a playoff game against Mill Creek, Beer hit two home runs in the same inning leading the Longhorns to a convincing 12-0 victory. When the second homer cleared the fence, the usually vocal announcer, Sam Scruggs, hardly reacted.
"Well," he said, "that’s just Seth being Seth."
So maybe this is a formality that Beer was chosen by county coaches as the 2014 Forsyth County News Player of the Year.
"It feels great," Beer said on being named Player of the Year. "There’s a lot of great talent in Forsyth, lots of college commits. It’s an honor."
Unquestionably, Beer was more valuable to his club than anyone else in the county. And while the Longhorns possessed an incredible amount of depth, there was no way to replicate—or come close to replicating—the kind of numbers Beer racked up.
The sophomore finished 2014 with a .589 batting average, 10 home runs and an on-base percentage of .674. Those statistics were unmatched.
On the mound, he compiled a 6-0 record and a microscopic 0.53 earned run average; in 39-1/3 innings, he surrendered just three earned runs and struck out 43. Pure domination.
"Stats are stats," he said, "I was just trying to put the bat on the ball."
Not only was Beer the clear choice for Player of the Year, but he reached that pinnacle in just his second season of high school ball. With so much time left at Lambert, he’ll surely receive a lot of visits from colleges and MLB organizations.
In fact, the spotlight has already been thrust upon him, as MaxPreps named him one of 10 national player of the year nominees. Should he improve upon his 2014 numbers, he figures to receive even more attention.
The stakes will be higher in 2015, that’s for sure.
"We want to go back out there and defend our title, but we don’t want to put pressure on ourselves," he said. "We just want to play the same game we played last year with the same mentality.
"I’ll just try to go out there and do the same thing to help my team win. With that in mind I want to hit better and put this year behind me and start new."
Beer transferred from King’s Ridge to Lambert with an abundance of talent, but he admits his mentality needed work. That’s where Lambert head coach Jamie Corr came in.
Corr helped Beer find the right approach at the plate. That tutelage paid major dividends, as Beer’s overall game improved as the season wore on.
"That something I always struggled with," Beer said of his mindset. "I could get in my head. I remember the first game I was really nervous. There were a bunch of people there, and coach told me to do what I do and just have fun. Since then my mental game has gotten a lot stronger."
Corr’s message flowed through the roster, which led to the kind of chemistry not often found at the high school level.
In fact, Beer’s favorite memory from 2014 came after a personal letdown. In Game 3 of the Class AAAAAA championship series at Milton, he came up with the bases loaded and one out—the perfect chance to break things open.
Instead, he grounded into a double play to end the inning.
Though he was unable to drive in the winning run, fellow sophomore Kyle McCann hit a bloop single the following inning to drive in the eventual game-winning run.
Despite all the big moments he is directly responsible for, it was this one — one he wasn’t directly involved in — that stuck out the most.
"That’s the moment I will always remember," Beer said, "We were a very humble team. We played as one."