The Lambert baseball team was two outs away from losing its first game of the season when 6-foot-1 sophomore Kyle McCann stepped to the plate.
On second base stood Tucker Maxwell, who was hit by a pitch and moved over by an Ian Kimbrell sacrifice bunt. On the mound stood Johns Creek righty Gabe Moore, a Kentucky commit with a mid-90’s fastball and 6-1/3 innings of masterful work in the books.
But after more than 100 pitches, Moore’s velocity finally betrayed him.
McCann launched one of Moore’s fireballs roughly 330 feet over the right field fence, giving the Longhorns a 3-2 lead—one it would not relinquish. Despite some bumps along the way, Lambert maintained its unblemished record and pushed its lead in Region 6-AAAAAA to two games.
Had the Longhorns lost, they would have fallen into a tie for first place with the Gladiators.
“I was just looking for one I could square up on,” McCann said. “I was looking fastball, and I got it.”
This game was, for the most part, a pitchers’ duel. Despite the loss, Johns Creek got a solid outing out of Moore, who surrendered just four hits—three singles and the homer.
JD Dutka provided Lambert with 5-2/3 innings of work, giving up only five hits and two runs. Thomas Kubiak relieved Dutka in the sixth and promptly ended the inning with a groundout, stranding two runners.
Lambert senior Dylan Biumi got the nod in the seventh and shut the door, giving Lambert the win. The Gladiators registered only six hits, all singles.
“You saw four dominant pitchers tonight,” Corr added. “Our three guys did a great job, and of course Gabe threw a great game.”
After the Longhorns fell into a 1-0 in the bottom of the first, left fielder Jeremy Johnson got Lambert on the board in the third with an RBI single, plating Eric Furphy.
For the Gladiators, Noah Wilmot tallied both of the team’s RBIs with a single and sacrifice fly. Senior Tyler Prescott scored both Johns Creek runs, reaching base each time by walking.
“That’s a great baseball team over there,” Corr said of Johns Creek. “We stole one tonight. The cushion [in the standings] is big with a good Johns Creek team behind us.”
After months of domination, Lambert wasn’t used to close contests like this one. In fact, the Longhorns have won by less than three runs only twice all year.
To be down in the seventh is unfamiliar territory for this club, to say the least.
“Our guys are always relaxed, always poised, always confident,” added Corr. “We know we have a fighting chance all the way to that final out. They did a good job tonight of playing great situational offense where we concentrate on getting runners on, getting them over, and Kyle ultimately was the guy to get them in.”
Next up for the Longhorns is another Region 6-AAAAAA matchup on Friday at Chattahoochee. Johns Creek and Lambert well square off once again in the regular season finale on April 23.