Patience at the plate and flawless defense paid off for Lambert.
The Lady Longhorns allowed only one hit and capped off a three-run fifth inning when Zoe Miller drew a bases-loaded walk, triggering the mercy rule in an 8-0 victory over Forsyth Central on Monday at Lambert.
Every Lambert starter reached base at least once in the game.
"We did a good job today, but we have a long way to go," Lambert coach Dana Corr said. "We have to keep working hard every single day and play each game like it’s a championship game and disregard what their uniforms say."
The victory was the eighth straight for the Lady Longhorns (8-1, 2-0 Region 6-AAAAAA), whose only loss came 2-1 against Mountain View in the season opener.
Central (2-2, 2-0 Region 7A-AAAAA) had a chance to strike first, as Jessica Dunn started the second inning with a walk and advanced to second base on a groundout. But the Lady Bulldogs couldn’t bring her home, as Lambert pitcher Macy Stovall forced a groundout and strikeout to end the top of the second inning.
In the bottom half of the frame, Lambert’s Rachael Ross knocked in the game’s first run with a two-out RBI single up the middle that scored Amanda Maxfield. Savannah Huffstetler easily made it home from third base after a failed pickoff attempt at first by the catcher, making the score 2-0.
Central had a chance to cut into the lead in the top of the fourth inning after Dunn came up with a two-out double to right-center field, but an inning-ending groundout left her stranded.
"We need to make the plays we’re supposed to make," Central coach Bill Richardson said. "We need to execute the little things. It was just one of those days; it was a Monday. We’ll take care of business, we just have to execute."
Maxfield led off the bottom of the fourth with a double to left field for Lambert. Huffstetler moved her to third on a single and then stole second.
Jenny Barto padded the lead with a sacrifice fly to right field that scored Maxfield and advanced Huffstetler to third.
Ross continued the scoring with an RBI double to deep left field.
Ross moved to third on a single by Maddie Butz, then scored on a failed pickoff attempt by the catcher to push the lead to 5-0.
The Central bats were quiet in the fifth inning, as Lambert reliever Kassie Howard struck out two and forced a groundout. Stovall (2 IP, 1 K, 2 BB) and Howard (3 IP, 1 H, 5 K) combined to allow only three baserunners in the game.
"We have so many great pitchers this year," Corr said. "We have great pitchers who can step in and shut teams down and throw strikes for us and keep our defense in it."
The Lady Longhorns slammed the door in the fifth inning as Megan Whitlatch singled and advanced to second on a fielding error. Courtney Ross took advantage of the situation with an RBI single to right field. Huffstetler singled and moved to second after Barto walked. Butz then lifted the ball into center for an RBI single to load the bases for Miller.
Miller’s patience at the plate forced the game-winning walk for Lambert.