Pitching and defense. That was the story of Lambert’s 1-0 win at North Forsyth on Thursday.
“We had a pitcher that’s making her pitches,” Lambert softball coach Brooks Youngblood said. “We’re getting an opportunity for our defense to work and they made the plays when they had too.”
Lambert’s pitcher Kassidy Krupit had only a single strikeout but forced many ground balls and pop outs that her teammates were able to handle.
“A lot of credit to Kassidy,” Youngblood said. “She freaking pitched her mind out tonight.”
The game was scoreless through five innings. The Longhorns (15-9, 8-5 Region 5-7A) left a runner stranded on third base in the first, third and fourth innings and ended the fifth inning grounding out into a double play.
Lambert once again found themselves with a runner on third in the top of sixth inning, but this time senior Catherine Harper was able to bring the runner home with an RBI double down the left field line.
“You can’t overthink it,” said Harper about coming up to bat with a runner in scoring position and two outs. “You have to trust what you’ve learned for your entire life and you have to trust in your team to do it as well if you can’t come through.”
It was unclear whether or not Harper’s RBI would be enough after the Lady Raiders (14-10, 8-5 Region 5-7A) loaded the bases in the bottom of the sixth, but Krupit was able to force a pop up that she caught herself to end that threat.
Lambert loaded the bases itself in the top of the seventh with no outs but was unable to add to their lead. North Forsyth softball coach Jim Cahill made a pitching change, putting in Amber Jones, and Jones was able to force three consecutive ground balls, two of which were force outs at home plate, to keep the game at 1-0 heading into the bottom of the seventh.
Krupit put to rest any further drama with a 1-2-3 inning to end the game.
“You never want to let up,” Krupit said. “If you slip, they’re back in the game and the next thing you know, I could be pitching 10 innings, 11 innings. We could be playing that long and no one really wants to go that long so if the one time we get the lead, we need to keep it.
“Once we get the lead, we got to really keep our defense tight and make sure we keep that lead.”
Lambert did just that on Thursday and, with the win, move into a tie for second place in the Region 5-7A standings with only two games remaining.
“(This win) really, really helps with the region standings,” Krupit said. “I know a lot of our seniors, I mean, we’ve been together forever, and we want to finish with a region championship and we believe we can do that.
“And even if that doesn’t work out, we can use this for momentum for state (playoffs).”