Just three games into the season, Lambert lost its first game at South Forsyth on a dramatic ending at the plate. The Lady Longhorns had to wait a month and some change, but got revenge Tuesday night - in a big way.
With a 4-1 victory over South, Lambert became the first team in Region 6 to knock off the Lady War Eagles, who were previously 11-0 in league play.
Lambert added insurance in the bottom of the sixth inning after holding onto a tight 2-1 lead for most of the contest. Marissa Guimbarda stepped to the plate in the final frame and knocked a home run to deep right-center, just moments after destroying a ball that went foul past the right foul pole. Freshman Ansley Dean helped out when she doubled to bring home Shelby Dean, who reached earlier in the frame on a single.
With a three-run lead, starting pitcher Kassidy Krupit finished the contest with a little less pressure, though Lambert head coach Brooks Youngblood felt the game would have been in good hands even if it were still a one-run score.
“I think we would have been fine either way because of the way (Kassidy) was pitching the game, but in any game those insurance runs are nice,” Youngblood said.
Lambert (11-9, 10-3 Region 6-AAAAAA) sits half a game behind North Forsyth in the region standings, with South (15-3, 11-1) still holding the top spot. West is a half game behind Lambert at 10-4 in region.
After stating last week that getting into second place in the region seemed like the most realistic goal, Youngblood sees why implications following an “upset” have changed ever so slightly.
“Last year we lost a close one like that to them and we were undefeated. For the girls it's big, they know all of those girls. In reality, in the grand scheme of region play, we've been trying to tell them each region win is just as big,” Youngblood said. “It matters just the same as any other win, but when you start thinking about them being undefeated, it's an awesome win. No question.”
South coach Ronnie Davis knew making it through the region unscathed would be a tall order.
“Yeah, it's always nice to be able to run the table and the whole region, but that's very tough,” Davis said. “We have good teams in our region and in particular in this county, and it's hard for anyone to run through this county alone without a loss.”
Krupit controlled South's batters, aside from a “few singles up the middle,” Youngblood said stood out. Overall the Delaware commit allowed four hits, struck out five and walked just one batter.
“I had to hit my spots because South can hit on the outside and turn on the inside pitches,” Krupit said. “It was a huge win of course. I had a great time having fun with my team.”
Lambert took the lead in the bottom of the first when Maddie Butz came home on a sacrifice fly from Zoe Miller. Krupit scored moments later from third off a passed ball to give the Lady Longhorns a 2-0 advantage.
That lead was cut in half in the top of the fourth when Sophia Tapia scored off an error — a dropped ball in left field.
Guimbarda finished 2 for 3 at the plate with the home run, while Katlin Holloway was 2 for 2 to become the only other multi-hit batter in the game.