Lambert defeated rival South Forsyth at home on Friday night 5-1 behind a stellar pitching performance from Turner Scruggs.
Lambert (18-5, 14-1) entered the contest smelling the region title. The Longhorns have a two-game cushion over Northview and West Forsyth for first place in Region 6-AAAAAA. Lambert’s final series of the season is with Northview, so the Longhorns knew it was crucial to take care of business against seventh-place South (12-11, 6-9).
Lambert took control from the start. Jarrett Wright led off the bottom of the first with a single. Josh McAllister doubled to score Wright. Kyle McCann drove in McAllister with another single. Just like that, Lambert led 2-0.
After getting the next two batters out, South pitcher Landon Sims allowed a big two-run homerun to Lambert’s Griffin Jarrett. Four runs would be more than enough for starting pitcher Turner Scruggs.
Scruggs knew the magnitude of the game. On top of that, he and twin brother, Parker, both seniors, were celebrated before the contest. For a moment, each became a catcher and caught a first-pitch from a teacher of their choice. Their choices had a basketball flair - Parker chose Scott Bracco, the school’s head boys basketball coach, while Turner chose Jaime Fisher, the girls head coach.
From that ceremony to his last pitch, Turner was dialed in.
In the second inning, it only took Turner five pitches to retire South’s batters. He didn’t allow a hit for the first seven batters he faced. The only run he allowed was an unearned run via a throwing error from the left fielder Daniel Mickelson in the third inning.
“Turner did an outstanding job being himself, throwing strikes, giving us a chance, holding them where they were,” said Lambert head coach Rick Howard. “He did an outstanding job.”
Lambert’s fifth run of the game was set up by back-to-back hits from Parker Scruggs and Jarrett Wright, leaving them both in scoring position. Josh McAllister knocked in the run with a bomb to left field that was mere feet from going over the wall.
“We did a really good job swinging the bats early,” said Howard. “That was really huge in a game of this magnitude.”
Turner Scruggs was one batter away from a magical complete game on his senior night, but Howard pulled him in favor of Alex Todd. When asked why he didn’t let the senior get the complete game, Howard’s answer was simple.
“His pitch count got up a little bit,” Howard said.
For South, it was quite the opposite. The War Eagles couldn’t get the bats going. They ended the game with three total hits and only seven total base runners.
“The Scruggs kid pitched a great game,” said South head coach Russ Bayer. “We also didn’t help ourselves. He controlled the tempo of the at-bats.”
Sims struggled in the first inning, but he bounced back nicely to finish the night. He only allowed four hits after the first, and pitched a complete game.
“After the bottom half of the first, we played a great ball game,” said Bayer. “They came out and put some bats on the ball, but aside from that we knew what we were capable of doing.”
With the win, Lambert can potentially clinch the region with a win over South on Monday and a Northview loss.