The Lady Longhorns didn’t panic after dropping Game 1. They knew they let their nerves get the better of them, so they were determined not to make the same mistake.
Lambert set the tone early in Game 2 with four runs in the first inning en route to a 9-2 win over South Forsyth after getting shutout in the first game 5-0 in the Region 6-AAAAAA playoffs on Thursday at Fowler Park. The Lady Longhorns earned their first region title in program history and claimed a No. 1 seed for the Class 6A state playoffs.
“I think we were just so nervous,” Lambert coach Dana Corr said. “South is always a great team and they always play us so tough…and they beat us. So [I] told them to forget what just happened and start over and take home the title. And, they just cleared their minds and relaxed.”
Corr’s pregame speech paid off as the Lady Longhorns (28-3) tallied four runs in the first inning before scoring three runs in the third to take a commanding 7-0 lead.
Megan Whitlatch (2-for-4) started things off with an RBI triple to right field to score Savannah Huffstetler (2-for-3). Kassie Howard kept things rolling with an RBI single to left and Marissa Guimbarda (3-for-3, 2B, HR) and Macy Stovall each tacked on a run.
Lambert pitcher Kassie Howard (CG, 1 ER, 9 K, 3 H, 110 pitches) was electric in the circle. The senior allowed her only three hits of the night in the fourth inning.
“I’m tired, but it’s all worth it,” Howard said. “It just shows our hard work paid off and that we keep fighting until the end. We all settled in and knew it was our chance to finish it.”
The Lady Longhorns’ three-run third inning put the game out of reach. Guimbarda crushed a home run to left field with two outs before Stovall reached home on an outfield error and Zoe Miller’s single to push another run across.
“It was a high fastball,” said Guimbarda, a freshman, “and that’s my favorite pitch. All the hard work’s paid off all year long with coach Corr. …When I settled in, I realized I needed to wait for good pitches and then I just waited for mine and sat back and jumped on it.”
Kaitlyn Holloway scored Lambert’s eighth run in the fourth, while Whitlatch capped the scoring in the fifth with an RBI single to bring in Miller.
South’s Emily Harris knocked in Bianca Mora in the fourth inning and Sophia Tapia crossed the plate on an error in the fifth for team’s two runs.
The Lady War Eagles (19-14) received the No. 2 seed for the Class 6A playoffs.
Katherine Huey was nearly unhittable in Game 1 for South. Huey (CG, 0 ER, 12 K, 4 H, 115 pitches) didn’t allow a Lambert baserunner until the fourth inning.
South racked up three runs in the third and two runs in the fifth. Tapia (2-for-2) drilled a triple to right field that scored Natalie Strandquist and Mora’s double to center brought home Tapia and Meghan Rud (3-for-4). Allie Baccari finished the scoring in the fifth with a two-run single to left to make the score 5-0.
“Our ability to continue to compete from the first pitch to the last pitch,” South coach Ronnie Davis said. “Bottom line, we got in there and competed and hustled and worked hard and that’s all you can ask of the kids.”