Lambert’s bats started out cold, but after a few innings they appeared to have absorbed the summer heat.
Trailing South Forsyth 1-0, the Longhorns’ hitters ignited for five runs in the fourth inning and delivered a 12-2 victory on Tuesday at War Eagle Field. The game was part a week-long round robin tournament featuring all five Forsyth County public high schools.
Despite coming out on top, Lambert assistant coach Brooks Youngblood said summer league games are about evaluating talent, not winning.
The overwhelming majority of Lambert and South’s summer rosters consist of rising sophomores.
“The summer is all about getting reps for our young players,” Youngblood said. “You try to see who has got what and where each person should fit in. It’s all about teaching.
“We try to play four or five games a week and practice once a week. We don’t really care about the result of the game as much as we care about teaching.”
Lambert pitcher Ben McCurley surrendered a first inning run to South’s Nathan Brothers, but held the War Eagles scoreless for the remaining time he was on the mound to record the win.
After producing little offense for the first three innings, Lambert’s J.J. Clements blooped the ball over second base for an RBI single that Tucker Maxwell and tied the game.
With the bases loaded, McCurley drew a walk to bring home Ian Kimbrell and give the Longhorns a lead they would not relinquish.
C.J. Mangum brought home another run with an RBI groundout, and Nick Guimbarda blasted a two-run RBI single to cap off the fourth inning and boost the lead to 5-1.
The Longhorns continued to pour it on in the top of the fifth, as Addison Schimmelpfennig cranked a two-run RBI double to bring the score to 7-1.
South threatened with runners at first and third in the bottom half of the frame, but reliever Tucker Maxwell got a groundout to end the inning.
Lambert put the game away at the plate in the sixth inning, scoring four more runs on two-run hits by Chris Cummings and Will Mapes.
After both coaches agreed to continue playing despite the 10-run mercy rule, Maxwell added one more run in the seventh inning for Lambert.
South scored its only other run in the bottom of the frame.
War Eagles coach Russ Bayer said he focuses on seeing how players handle a variety of game situations.
“I’m trying to get everyone in the lineup to see how they handle situations,” Bayer said. “We bunt and steal and try to work on things. These players are fighting to compete to have an opportunity to make the varsity.”