In the short time Lambert High School has been open, it has established itself as a baseball powerhouse. The program has garnered region, state and even national championships. On Friday night, they added another chapter with a 4-2 home win over Milton to clinch the Region 5-7A title.
This title — and this team — felt different from the others.
Lambert has seen some incredible baseball talent wear the uniform. Players like Clemson-star Seth Beer and Georgia Tech-catcher Kyle McCann manned the lineup and gave Lambert the success that is has found. With that talent, the wins came easy. Lambert clinched region title after region title, three straight.
This season was not supposed to be like those of the past. The team was set to replace six starters in the field and all of its pitching staff. It seemed like this was the year the Longhorns were supposed to take the step down.
But from the first pitch of Friday night’s game, the team labeled as a “transition year”-squad added their unique stamp to the list of success.
Josh McAllister saw that first pitch and got Lambert off to a roaring start.
“I saw a fastball up in the zone and put a good swing on it,” said McAllister. “It ended up over the fence.”
Will Gabbert and Griffin Jarrett followed the leadoff home run with a pair of doubles, giving Lambert a quick 2-0 lead.
Cameron Smith didn’t need much more than two runs. Smith controlled one of the higher-powered offenses in the region, going six innings and allowing only two runs.
The top of the lineup, all three of them seniors, added more cushion to the lead in the second inning. McAllister singled, followed by a Gabbert walk, which set up a two-RBI double for Jarrett. Those three guys have been the backbone of the offense for the entire year.
“What’s great about those three is that none care about who gets it, it’s about us getting it,” Lambert coach Rick Howard said. “We talk about what your swing can do for someone else, and those guys are great at it. It was a big night for those guys.”
Milton finally cracked the scoreboard in the top of the third with a couple of hits and an error, cutting Lambert’s lead to 4-2. But Smith battled back in the next three innings, only allowing two more base runners the rest of the night.
Payton MacPherson came in for the save in the seventh inning where he locked up the region championship in three batters.
“This [region championship] feels the best because we really had to earn it,” said McAllister, who was a part of two previous region titles. “This year, all of our wins have been two, three runs, had some walk-offs, extra innings. This one is the best.”