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BASEBALL PLAYER OF THE YEAR: Justin Haskins, Lambert

Justin Haskins hit a batting average of .400 with 23 RBIs, 1 home run, and six doubles for the Lambert Longhorns. On the mound, he compiled an 8-2 record with a 2.13 ERA and 81 strikeouts in 55 ⅔ innings, unquestionably making him the Forsyth County News Baseball Player of the Year

“I felt great. Looking back on my high school career when I was a freshman, [or] sophomore I never thought I’d be where I’m at today and I’m really grateful,” Haskins said. “It was shocking at first. I was really excited. I couldn’t ask for anything more.”

“It was a grind,” Haskins said, describing how his season went. “It was a really long season, long cold practices I mean having to go through that every day it’s tough but the way it ended out.  I wouldn’t ask for anything more. It went really well, and I had a really good season.” 

The Longhorns baseball team finished its season with a 22-14 record and 11-7 in Class 7A.

“I’m a little disappointed with the way it ended in the Sweet 16 but the group of guys I was with is awesome,” Haskins said. “Everyone on the team we’re like best friends I couldn’t have a better team to do it with. All the guys are always cheering me on. If I did something bad, they’re always there to pick me up. It was a pleasure playing every single one of them.

With the team sporting matching mohawks for a state title run, the Longhorns won in dramatic fashion in Game 1, then tattooed 16 runs in the night cap in April on their way to a 4-2, 16-0 sweep of Peachtree Ridge. Haskins finished the complete-game shutout, allowing only six hits while striking out nine. 

“I had long hair, so I shaved the sides a little bit and got some lines in it. Little mullet type of thing,” Haskins said while laughing. “I know a lot of teams bleached their hair or something like that. We knew going into the playoffs we were going to get haircuts. Some of the haircuts were more extreme than the others but it ended up being pretty fun. It was a good joke.”

The Longhorns' 3-0 victory over West Forsyth was Haskins' favorite game of the season. 

“Our team was kinda in a rough spot in region play. We needed a big win, and I was on the mound that game and the whole team gave a bunch of energy. We ended up putting them away and it was a big win for us to give us a chance for a good seed in the playoffs,” Haskins said.

Haskins will take his talents to Flagler College this fall where he will study sports management. 

“Going in as a freshman I got to be ready and be a role player. I know I'm not going to go in there and start right away or anything like that,” Haskins said. “I got to go in, work hard, learn a whole new environment, learn all the new guys, feel it out, and just whatever I can to help the team.”

Haskins was also rewarded Region 6-7A Player of the year and was recently elected to Georgia Dugout Club 7A All-State's first team.

Haskins compared his pitching to Greg Maddux, a former Major League Baseball pitcher for the Atlanta Braves and Chicago Cubs.

“I know he wasn’t the hardest thrower, but he went out there and he could look at his pitches as good as anyone's ever done,” he said. “That’s pretty much what I'm trying to do. Go out there, hit my spots, and through some off-speed.”